Judge extends early voting in one Florida county
BY GARY FINEOUT and BETH FOUHY
Monday, November 05, 2012
11/05/12 at 5:56 AM
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A judge extended early voting hours in one Florida county Sunday after Democrats sued to allow more time in a presidential battleground state where more than 4 million ballots have already been cast. The move was one of many legal skirmishes in the tight contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to deal with inevitable disputes over balloting.
Some Florida voters had stood in long lines Saturday, the last scheduled day of early voting. The judge ruled on a lawsuit filed late Saturday in Orange County after an early voting site was shut down for several hours. The Winter Park library was evacuated when a suspicious package was found outside. It was later detonated by a local bomb squad.
Orange County is part of the state's Interstate 4 corridor, a populous "swing" region that often determines the outcome of close elections. A spokesman for the state Republican Party said it would not challenge the decision.
The Florida conflict was just the latest to emerge in a presidential race whose winner may be determined by how many people take advantage of early voting. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia now allow early balloting, including Florida, whose 29 electoral votes make it the largest of the closely fought battlegrounds.
Early voting has been central to the Obama campaign's efforts to win Florida and other swing states. More Democrats than Republicans tend to vote early, and a sizable advantage among early voters in Florida in 2008 helped Obama defeat Republican rival John McCain by 3 points, 51 percent to 48 percent.
Original Print Headline: Early voting extended in Fla. county