ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Early voting starts Monday morning in the Sunshine State. The line at the Orange County Board of Elections, one of 17 early voting centers, may have voters standing in line for more than an hour.
Florida is considered one of the critical swing states this election cycle, with presidential candidates considering it a "must win" territory and recent polling narrowing the gap between the state's U.S. Senate candidates, making for a newly-competitive race.
Out-of-state cash is also pouring into local election campaigns as Florida gets ready to claim center stage in America’s political universe.
The get-out-the-vote efforts kicked off in Orange County at the New Covenant Baptist Church. There, it was a spirited effort to get "souls to the polls," says Bishop Kelvin Cobaris.
“While many people might be displeased with some of the candidates they have to choose from, they have to remember the sacrifice others have made so it comes down to who's qualified and what works best for all people,” Cobaris said.
Orange County Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles attended the event. He says the county has everything in place for early voting.
“It's a great opportunity because one of the things we know about early voting and vote-by-mail is that it takes the pressure off of the poll workers in the polling places on Election Day.”
During today's "push the vote" rally at the church, it was prayers and politics, with preachers quoting scripture and candidates looking for votes. People who attended say they're leaving the event being able to make a more informed choice at the polls.
“It helps us understand more of the terminology of where we need to be and also go into a place when we vote that we can see who's really for us, as a whole,” Veronica Roberts said.
“I didn't know, but now I know,” Russell Dariso said. “I enjoy that I came and I'm glad that I came.”
“It's my right to vote, I earned this vote,” Megan McCray said. "And, I'm going to vote with pride!”
Polls are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. from Monday until November 6.
You can find a link to all seventeen of Orange County's early voting centers on their website: http://ocfelections.com/earlyvoting.aspx
For all early voting locations and times click here.