Voter Turnout Light at Bloomingdale Regional Library
Those voting said they favored Gingrich and Romney.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were the favorites at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, where voter turnout was low Tuesday but those who did vote had strong feelings about the Presidential Preference Primary.
"It's been slow all morning," said eight-year pollworker Arthur Lusk. "People have been kind of trickling in. No one's had to wait in line. I think a lot of people voted early."
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Earl Lennard told CNN on Tuesday morning that early voting and vote by mail totals have already exceeded levels from 2008, the last presidential election year. Lennard said he wouldn’t be surprised if he had a 40 percent turnout in Hillsborough.
As of 2:30 pm., 10 sample precincts around the county were reporting about 18 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballot today, according to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections.
"I learned from my ninth-grade civics teacher how important voting is, so I always vote, even in primaries," said Susie Roscoe, who voted for Romney. "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain."
She said she also wants to set an example for her 17-year-old son who will vote for the first time in the November presidential election.
Mark Stargardt said he voted for Gingrich because he feels Gingrich is the candidate who can defeat Barack Obama this fall.
"I'm not surprised by the turnout," he said. "People just don't vote in primaries. But I feel it's important to vote every chance I get."
As a general contractor, Stargardt said the economy is a big concern to him.
"We don't have what we need in this state to make it economically sound," he said. "We're consumers in Florida, not producers. We need to reduce the government stranglehold and become more manufacture oriented."
The economy also was on the mind of Valrico resident George May, a Gingrich supporter.
"I voted because I'm concerned about the economy and getting our country strong again," he said. "I think Gingrich can do that."
"I don't agree with quite a few things Obama has done," said Jan Curchin, also a Gingrich supporter. "As a Republican, I feel it's my duty to get out and vote in the primary."
Bill Espinosa, who came to the library to vote for Romney, said he wasn't surprised by the lack of a wait.
"It's a primary," he said. "People figure their votes don't count. But this is very important. The winner is going to face Obama."
Espinosa said he's especially concerned about the economy and the strength of the military. He said he feels confident that Romney will turn the country around and ensure the security of the country.
Tom Stanley said he watched the debates with interest to try to determine which candidate will lead the country out of the recession.
The state of the economy has hit Stanley particularly hard. He formerly sold farm tractors but has been out of work for two years.
"I voted for Newt because I feel like he'll stand up for us," said Stanley. "He was a good speaker of the House and, regardless of the personal stuff being said about him, I think he'd make a good president."