Early voting has got underway in Florida ahead of the main US presidential elections in two weeks’ time.
The principal aim is to avoid congestion on Election Day. Democrats in particular are urging supporters to use their early ballot to avoid a repeat of the recount fiasco in the 2000 election. The punchcard voting machines that created legal turmoil back then have been replaced, in some cases by touchscreen computers. But voters’ rights activists and Democrats have strongly criticised Florida’selections division, which is run by a prominent Republican figure appointed by president George W Bush’s own brother Jeb, the state’s governor.
Republicans have also been urging people to vote early to avoid long lines amid anticipated high turnout.Both candidates have been spending considerable campaigning time in the Sunshine State, which is top of a list of around 10 tightly fought swing states which will determine the outcome of the election. Four years ago, Florida decided the election for Bush only after a five-week legal battle over ballot recounts. Bush beat vice-president Al Gore by 537 votes.