HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As the sun set on the first day of early voting in Florida, the line still extended out the door at the Temple Terrace Public Library.
“I haven’t voted since 2008,” Stephen Greene told 8 On Your Side as he left with is “I Voted” sticker. “I wanted to get more involved in the voting process.”
His friend Brenda Jean-Paul gets the assist for helping him vote.
“That’s what we got to do now,” she said. “Everybody got to vote so he asked for a ride and I gave him a ride.”
Greene is one of more than 24,000 Hillsborough County voters who turned out Monday, according to the Supervisor of Elections website.
Before 4:30 p.m., Supervisor Craig Latimer tweeted that turnout had surpassed the first day of early voting during the presidential election in 2016.
The unofficial turnout after 8 p.m. was 24,063 compared to 18,887 in 2016.
More than 186,000 Hillsborough voters have already returned their vote-by-mail ballots compared to 93,837 at this time in 2016.
“I think it tells you its the most important election of our lifetime,” Angie Ammon said.
The afternoon downpour didn’t deter Ammon from casting her mail ballot at the Platt Regional Library in South Tampa.
“Really I was nervous until I dropped it off,” she said. “It was like having the winning lottery ticket. Until I dropped it off, I was a little nervous.”
The rain also didn’t stop a World War II veteran in his 80s from waving his Donald Trump flag near the row of campaign signs by the library.
“The Republicans have a tendency to come out now and they do it live,” said Frank DiBella, who plans to campaign every day of early voting for his daughter, Republican State Rep. Jackie Toledo.
Supporters of the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris democratic ticket held an early voting kick-off event across from Raymond James Stadium, which is one of ten new poll locations in Hillsborough County.
“You never know what’s going to happen on Election Day and we would rather have those votes in the bank,” said Ana Cruz, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s partner.
While voting appears to be off to a smooth start in the Bay Area, if you encounter any trouble trying to vote, 8 On Your Side wants to hear from you.
Early voting runs every day from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. in Hillsborough County until Sunday November 1.