BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Over 30 thousand Bay County residents have officially cast their ballots for the 2020 general election as super voting sites opened across the area and other surrounding counties.
“The enthusiasm of early voting is the strongest it’s ever been historically,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “It’s exciting to see people exercising their right to cast a vote and showing that they’re paying attention.”
Starting at 7 a.m., lines began to form outside of polling locations; throughout the day, multiple groups held events to celebrate the start of in-person voting.
The Trump Victory Team held a gathering at Sharon Sheffield Park to watch the livestream of President Trump casting his own vote in West Palm Beach, as well as mobilize voters for the president. State leaders like Patronis and Congressman Neal Dunn were there as well.
“It’s the pivotal turning point of the leader of the free world,” Patronis said. “Donald Trump has done so much.”
“We all want to see our economy come back,” he said. “This is the time and this is the way to do it so I’m voting for Trump.”
Across town, Bay County residents supporting former Vice President Joe Biden marched the Hathaway Bridge to show their backing.
“We really want a change, we want a return to decency and civility,” said Alvin Peters, the director of the Biden Victory Center and a co-organizer of ‘Bridgin’ for Biden.’ “Hopefully that’s what comes out of this election.”
“We can’t go through another four years with the current person in the White House,” said Doreen Long, an event participant.
However, residents are voting for more than just the president, like local policies, government officials and state constitution amendments.
Groups in Glenwood held a “Walk-the-Vote” event to encourage people to learn the ballot and get out and vote, no matter what their choices may be.
“Vote the way you would like to vote, but please come out and vote,” said Mechelle Grady, CEO of NuGulf Coast Choir, who has made it a personal mission to teach young people the important of voting, as well as respecting others’ opinions even if they differ from ones’ own beliefs.
“When someone disagrees with your perspective in life, please be kind, considerate, respectful of that person’s feelings and their opinion,” she said.