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Early voting in Florida kicked off Saturday and runs until Nov. 3. Early voting sites in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Chanel Charles, who voted at the South Dade Government Center Complex, told NBC 6 South Florida that the line was very long but people were "standing the course."
Early voting in Florida kicked off Saturday and runs until Nov. 3.
Early voting sites in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"I just think the earlier I do it and get it out of the way, the better,” said Broward voter Nancy Edmond. “Because when I tried to vote four years ago, I didn't do the early voting and I must have came three different times on three separate occasions. So I said, you know, let me get it out of the way, and then I'll just continue on with my life.”
There are a limited number of early voting sites open in each of Florida's 67 counties. Voters at several sites, including stations in Lauderhill and south Dade, experienced long lines.
"So far it's going pretty well because there's loads of people out here and the line is very long, but they're standing the course," said Chanel Charles, who voted at the South Dade Government Center Complex. "So, it looks pretty good. I think we're going to have a great turnout here."
Alex Hall told NBC 6 South Florida free water and a nice breeze were helping to ease the wait.
"Everything is going well and we're here to support four more years, so I'm happy that we're seeing a very good turnout and everything is going well."
In Miami Beach, registered Republican Carla Martin told NBC 6 South Florida why she decided to cast her vote early.
"We had the day off, and we thought we really wanted to make our votes count. Who knows what could happen on the 6th, so let's do it while we can," the 37-year-old said.
Dominic J. Puopolo said he wanted to re-elect President Barack Obama.
"It really meant a lot to me that the president has handled al-Qaida, and defeating (Osama) bin Laden and killing bin Laden has removed that part of our lives, a chapter for us as 9/11 family members," Puopolo said. "It was important to see that closure."
Rallies and get-out-the-vote events are planned this weekend across the state to mark the period.
Organizers say at least 135 Florida churches will take part in "souls to the polls" bus and car caravans Sunday aimed at getting mostly Latino and African-American congregations to cast ballots early.
Labor unions and church leaders are also planning rallies Saturday that thousands of people are expected to attend.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Florida on Saturday, as will Rev. Al Sharpton.
This year's early voting period is shorter than in previous elections. Voting rights groups concerned about problems with access unsuccessfully challenged the reduced time frame in the courts.
Officials say more than 1.1 million Floridians have already cast ballots through mail-in absentee voting.
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