ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Early voting kicked off in most Florida counties on Monday, but not without a glitch in one of Central Florida's most populous counties.
The Orange County Supervisor of Elections website was down for most of the day.
Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles told Spectrum News 13 that it was an issue with the server that translates the site's IP address to the domain name.
"Our site has NOT been hacked and there has not been any security breach, this is a technical issue which we are working to resolve," Cowles wrote in a post on the office's Facebook page.
The site was back up by Tuesday morning.
But despite the website being down, many people are prepared for early voting, with 20 sites in Orange County.
Rise and shine... in most of Central #Florida TODAY, it’s early #voting time! 🗳 Here @citybeautiful’s @AmwayCenter, you can drop off your vote-by-mail ballot now; early voting begins at 20 sites in Orange at 8 a.m. @MyNews13 #Decision2020 #2020Elections pic.twitter.com/WXFFNujtqf— Julie Gargotta (@juliegargotta) October 19, 2020
“I have the ballot in my mind, all the amendments they sent the other day, I am just going to go in and get it done,” said early voter Scott Smith.
Smith lives in downtown Orlando. He will be voting at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office Monday. He said he has not missed an opportunity to vote in a presidential election.
“It's your right that you have, it's the only way you get your voice heard is to vote,” he said.
Before, lines at several of the polling places stretched around buildings and blocks and even out into the streets. Some people reported waiting for hours, even as it started raining. Spectrum News reporter Jon Alba tweeted as he waited some three hours to cast his vote at the South Semoran early voting location.
There was a steady line of people at the South Creek Branch Library location. Christa Ruvolo says it took her 2 hours 15 minutes to vote there, but she was willing to wait as long as needed.
“I know there’s been a lot of stress on the Post Office with early mail-in ballots, so I wanted to be sure it was counted. I wanted to get a head start and give the Post Office a break, she said.”
Early voter Peggy Carter tried to vote first thing in the morning Monday, but said it wasn't meant to be.
When she came back Monday evening, it took her less than an hour to cast her vote at precinct in Apopka.
"(It took) 43 minutes, 28.89 seconds," she said, looking at a stop watch on her iPhone.
She said it was 43 minutes well spent.
"I do feel relieved," Carter said. "I have been waiting for this moment and I do feel relieved."
The county Orange County Supervisor of Elections is asking voters to wear a mask, and says they’ll have extra if needed.
Cowles said his office was able to find plenty of poll workers to help out at each site. Everyone will have to wear a mask, there will be 6 feet social distancing, and they having markings to show that.
“I think we have trained ourselves to be in the polling place,” said Cowles.
No matter what county you are voting in, make sure you come prepared.
“Pre-mark your sample ballot, bring it with you so it doesn't take long to mark your ballot. Make sure you bring photo and signature identification, and that should make your experience a fast, quick one,” said Cowles.
In 2016 on the first day of early voting, nearly 17,000 votes were cast. As of 9 p.m. Monday, 16,744 votes had been cast.
Cowles expects lines to get longer as Election Day approaches and urges voters to come to the polls earlier rather than later.
"If you can vote this week, do it," he said. "Next week, as we get to the last day, November 1, more people will be voting because people tend to (wait to) vote until the last minute."
Evidence of long lines was also found in Seminole, Flagler and Brevard counties by our reporters.
In Palm Bay, voters donned raincoats and held umbrellas are they waited through two downpours to get inside the Brevard County Clerk of Courts Palm Bay Office on Cogan Drive.
The Brevard County supervisor of elections says more than 1,100 people voted in the first 50 minutes of early voting.
Sumter County begins early voting on Tuesday. Early voting will run through November 1.