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Turnout Light As Early Voting Begins In Dade, Broward

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Early voting started Saturday in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which joined Monroe County, where voters have already been voting for a week. It was a slow start.

On the upside, a spot check by CBSMiami found plenty of open polling places with no long lines. But they also had few voters.

Ft. Lauderdale's Lynn Mandeville voted Saturday morning and enjoyed avoiding the typical election day crowds. "I think it's very important to come out and vote," she said, "and my early voting place is even closer than my regular polling site so it's more convenient."

Click here to see where you can vote and check out sample ballots and more on the candidates.

But not as convenient as in past years. There is no longer Sunday voting in any county, and in Miami-Dade and Broward, early voting is limited to just one week, instead of the two weeks allowed in past years.

The changes were approved in 2010 by the Republican-dominated Florida legislature, part of an 'election reform' package yet to be fully implemented because of court challenges.

Voters can also vote early by using absentee ballots, and some have already been returned to local election offices.

Miami political analyst Fernan Amandi said possibly as early as Sunday, following the end of the South Carolina primary, local voters can expect to be barraged by Republican campaign ads, phone calls and letters as Florida becomes ground zero for the shrinking field of Republican presidential hopefuls.

"Prior to the developments of South Carolina where there's developed a strong battle between 2 candidates," Amandi said, "it looked like Florida would not be as important. But now it's going to be a major battle ground again. It's be a very interesting 10 days."

Coconut Grove conservative Robert Granoff agreed.He's still not sure who'll get his vote to carry the GOP banner this fall against President Barrack Obama.

"I haven't decided yet," he said. "Romney seems too liberal and Gingrich seems too tightly wound to be the right candidates to beat Obama."

  • Click here to see where you can vote and check out sample ballots and more on the candidates.


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