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Pinellas, Hillsborough counties report record-breaking first day of early in-person voting

Monday was the first day of early voting in most Tampa Bay area counties, two weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 Election Day.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Voters are making their voices heard loud and clear on the first official day of in-person early voting -- and smashing records in the process.

Pinellas County's Supervisor of Elections office reported 8,407 ballots were cast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, a record-breaking increase of 3,968 votes compared to the first day of early voting during the 2016 presidential election.

Across the bay, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer tweeted the county surpassed the number of voters today than those who voted on the first day during the 2016 general election.

That came out to 24,063 votes on day one of early voting, which was an increase of 5,176 votes compared to day one in 2016, Latimer's office shows.

"So today will be a record-breaking first day of Early Voting!" he tweeted.

He told 10 Tampa Bay: "We've really got some enthused voters out there, I'll tell you what. They are coming out to vote...and not surprising, we're the fourth largest county in the state, with over 934,000 registered voters.

"We've always had a good response for early voting...we've had a great day so far and looking forward to another great day tomorrow!"

Sarasota County reported 6,561 early votes at the end of the day Monday. Broken down by party, Republican-affiliated voters cast 3,412 ballots compared to Democrats' 1,964 ballots. People of another party cast 1,185 ballots.

Democrats have a slim lead in early voting in Pinellas County, with a bit of a larger lead in Hillsborough County, data shows.

In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, polls for in-person early voting are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They may vary elsewhere across Tampa Bay.

For the 2020 general election, all counties across Florida will have in-person early voting from Oct. 24-31, but county supervisors of elections may offer additional dates. In many counties, early voting began Oct. 19.

RELATED: Early voting dates and locations for the 2020 general election

10 Tampa Bay's Courtney Robinson reported many lines began forming even before polls opened across the region, with local supervisors saying voter enthusiasm is running high. At Sarasota Square, the line stretched from the mall's courtyard to just before the parking lot. 

Election workers there said about 110 voters were being helped each hour. 

In-person early voting gives people yet another way to cast their ballot before Election Day. For several weeks, voters have been dropping off their mail-in ballots at such a rapid clip, according to Florida Department of State data.

As of Monday morning, more than 2.5 million ballots have been received.

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