More than 16,000 voters headed to polls early in Treasure Coast

More than 16,000 voters cast ballots in the one week of early voting that precedes Tuesday's primary elections, according to numbers compiled by election supervisors in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

"I think (the number of early voters) was close to what we expected — maybe just a little higher," said Leslie Swan , supervisor of elections in Indian River County.

Her staff reported 7,187 early ballots cast before the polls closed at 4 p.m. Saturday. It also reported 7,442 absentee ballots had been received by Saturday, while more are expected to arrive in Monday's and Tuesday's mail.

Gertrude Walker, supervisor of elections in St. Lucie County, said 5,463 early ballots cast by Saturday was "a lot more than we expected." Her prediction, based on early balloting in the primary before the 2008 general election, was eclipsed before St. Lucie County early voting ended at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Walker's staff also reported 16,066 absentee ballots received by Saturday.

Martin County closed its early voting 5 p.m. Saturday. Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis reported 3,704 early ballots cast.

"So, we were just a little under our estimate," Davis said.

Martin County voters returned 14,022 absentee ballots by Saturday.

"We mailed over 20,000 and we expect to have at least 15,000 in-house by election day," Davis added.

Local counties were allowed to start and end early balloting at different hours.

However, polls will be open the same times — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — all across Florida for Tuesday's primary election.

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