Big turnout for first day of early voting

Evan Axelbank reports

- Turnout during the first day of early voting for the Florida primary increased by 25 percent, as voters decide who will face one another in the US Senate race, and in a slew of local and state races.

On the first day of early voting in 2012, 1,256 people went to the polls in Hillsborough County.  In 2014, 1,517 ballots were cast.  Monday, 1,902 voted -- a 50-percent increase from two elections ago.

"This election is going to determine America," said early voter Steven Hubbell, who cast a ballot in Carrolwood.

"Even though people say your voice doesn't count, it does," said Linda Krupnick, another early voter. "We have been proven that in the last two election cycles."

Krupnick supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), because she wants to see him run for president again.

"I don't think it was his time in the presidency," she said. "However, he is not going anywhere."

Bob Hutchinson supported real estate developer Carlos Beruff, who has tried to adopt the Trump mantle.

"(He is) a loudmouth who has had enough, like me."

When it came to the Democratic side, one voter told us she followed the president's example in supporting Rep. Patrick Murphy in his bid for US Senate.

Voter Phillip Austin wanted the opposite, so he supported Grayson.

"The president's endorsement) was kind of was a deterrent for me."

In 2014, more than 20,000 people voted early. This time around, the first day set a pace of over 26,000.

Voters say it's important to not only be informed sooner, but to make sure you're ready for the main event.

"You want to beat the crowds," said Tamara Shamburger. "There's no reason to wait. If there are any issues with your driver license, of ID, you have time to correct those issues."

Early voting information: http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/early-voting/

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