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Politics

We're on the Doorstep of Perhaps the Most Critical Election Day of this Century

November 5, 2018 - 6:00am

It’s safe to say former President Barack Obama and his successor, Donald Trump, don’t agree on much.

But as they tried to rally Florida voters in recent days, they agreed on the importance of this year’s general election.

“America’s at a crossroads,” Obama said at a rally for Democratic candidates Friday in Miami. “The health care of millions is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. But maybe most of all, the character of our country’s on the ballot.”

Two days earlier, at a rally for Republican candidates in Estero, Trump also said the election is pivotal --- albeit for different reasons.

“This election is truly a choice between results and resistance,” Trump said. “This is truly an election between greatness and gridlock.”

Florida is one of the main battlegrounds in the election, with Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum running for governor and Republican Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson running for a U.S. Senate seat.

But down-ballot, voters throughout the state will make important decisions on everything from races for county school boards to the Florida Cabinet. And in an added twist, they will vote on 12 proposed constitutional amendments.

More than 4 million people had already voted Friday through mail-in ballots or at early-voting locations. One county elections supervisor said she will deploy as many voting booths as possible on Election Day but also is ready with a “very low tech” solution if needed to handle lines of voters.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday statewide.

“We have a lot of clipboards,” Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards said. “We do send clipboards out and say if you don’t want to wait for a booth, we understand, and if you’re in a hurry you can take this clipboard and go over in the corner where nobody can see you and work on that.”

Early voting for Tuesday’s general election wrapped up in many counties Sunday, including Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie, Suwannee and Volusia. Early voting was required statewide through Saturday, with counties having the option to extend through Sunday.

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