PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Monday, officials said nearly 10,000 people have turned out to vote early in Escambia County.
Early voting began in Florida on Saturday, Oct. 27 and officials in Escambia County said their numbers so far show 9,518 ballots have already been cast.
Early voting in Pensacola and across Florida will go through Saturday, November 3, 2012. Voters will be allowed to cast ballots from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day.
Some folks say taking advantage of Florida's early voting period is more important than ever.
"This, in my opinion, is probably the most important election in my lifetime. It will determine what path our country is going to take," said Richard Beckish, an early voter.
According to the Associated Press, about 1.9 million Floridians have cast their ballots state-wide. The AP says the vote is nearly split evenly by party, with 784,444 ballots cast by Democrats and 774,304 ballots cast by Republicans. More than 307,000 ballots have been cast by voters who don't belong to either major party.
The total represents nearly 16 percent of Florida's 11.9 million voters.
Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford said Saturday's voting alone actually set a record. The number of ballots cast were actually more than the first two early voting days from the 2008 election combined.
Beckish says the fact that Florida is such a valuable swing state means a lot to him.
"I guess you could feel that your vote is more important than a state that's primarily Republican or another that's primarily Democratic," Beckish said.
According to the Florida Division of Elections (FDE), early voting begins 10 days before an election and ends on the third day before the election.
The FDE defines early voting as "casting a ballot in person prior to election day at a location designated by the Supervisor of Elections and depositing the voted ballot in the tabulation system."
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