Collier voter turnout for 2016 sets record

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-08 18:22:37-05

Collier County saw a record voter turnout for 2016 - a year in which over 75,000 residents had already taken part in early voting. Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards believes the dramatic race for the White House between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is driving people to the polls in greater numbers than past election years.

"It's something that the voters are hearing all the time, and so it encourages them to get out to vote," Edwards said.

Over 68% of registered voters had already cast their ballots by early voting or by mail in Collier County, but there were still lines at some polling locations on Election Day - up to a 45-minute wait for some voting at South Regional Library in Lely.

Did the wait cause those standing in line to get frustrated?

"No, they don't seem to be," said Jean Abbood, just after voting at the polling place.

"It's all old people," joked her husband Arthur. "We have nothing else to do."

An equipment failure at three polling sites in Immokalee, Ave Maria and Golden Gate Estates slowed down the check-in process when polls first opened in the morning. Poll workers had to call the main office to check voter's eligibility.

"We did the manual process for a brief period of time until everything was up and running," Edwards said.

Even though most voters in Collier County took part in early voting, there were plenty who like to wait for the big event.

"Having been from New Hampshire and done all this political stuff (in that state,) it's more exciting to do it that way," said Jane O'Hern of North Naples.