Americans are turning out in record numbers in order to cast their early vote for the presidential election.
On Monday, ABC News reported that 29.8 million ballots have already been cast via early and absentee voting. Thirty-five percent of the total vote in this election is expected to come from early and absentee ballots, up five percent from the 2008 election.
While in-person early voting ended as early Nov. 2 for several states such as Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Wisconsin, some states continued to allow residents to cast their ballots through Sunday; however, the process was not without its issues.
Many locations reported lines, wrapping around buildings, with people waiting up to eight hours in order to cast their vote.
Issues developed in Florida, with the Democratic Party filing a federal lawsuit against the state government on Sunday in order to extend early voting hours, after several complaints from citizens attempting to vote, the New York Times reports.
“The extraordinarily long lines deterred or prevented voters from waiting to vote,” the lawsuit states.
“Some voters left the polling sites upon learning of the expected wait, and others refused to line up altogether. These long lines and extreme delays unduly and unjustifiably burdened the right to vote.”
The drama came to a head when the Miami-Dade’s county election supervisor had its Doral office closed to absentee ballot voters for two hours Sunday afternoon. Most voters remained steadfast in line; the office did reopen, and people in line by 5 p.m. were allowed to drop off a ballot.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has been heavily criticized for not waiting to extend polling hours.
In the meanwhile, both the Democratic and Republican parties claim to have the advantage in the early vote.
ABC News reported that the Democrats have a lead in four of the five battleground states that allow early voting, including Nevada, Iowa, Florida and North Carolina.
While Republican National Committee spokesman Tim Miller says that the party is counting on states like Ohio and Iowa. The party is targeting undecided voters in those states and has taken steps including sending them absentee ballot request forms.
“The number of contacts that you’ll have from volunteers and mail and phone calls … during the early vote and absentee period was going to be substantially more than if you are somebody who votes every day, every election,” Miller said.