Voters in the Nov. 2 election seemed eager to avoid midterm madness at Anna Maria Island polls, casting ballots early and absentee in strong numbers.
The trend also was witnessed at the statewide level, with the state Division of Elections reporting that nearly 2.3 million voters cast ballots before the polls opened at 7 a.m. last Tuesday.
In Anna Maria, where there are 1,331 registered voters, 935 votes were cast in the mayoral race, including 265 by absentee and 32 in early voting. Overall, turnout was at 73 percent, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.
In Bradenton Beach, polling took place at Tingley Memorial Library. There are 923 registered voters in the city — 455 of them cast ballots in the commission race, including 347 at Tingley, 78 by absentee and 30 in early voting.
In Holmes Beach, there are two precincts — Precinct 92, with polling at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and Precinct 93, with polling at St. Bernard Catholic Church.
In Precinct 92, where there are 1,611 registered voters, the overall turnout was 62 percent. There were 696 people who voted at the church, 248 who voted absentee and 62 who voted early.
In Precinct 93, where there are 1,707 registered voters, turnout was 58 percent. There were 675 who voted at St. Bernard, 261 who voted absentee and 55 who voted early at the supervisor’s office.
While early and absentee balloting was heavy, election judges still found lines when they opened polling places on Election Day.
“It’s been pretty busy,” said election judge Larry Leffew, stationed outside St. Bernard in Holmes Beach. “There was a line at the start of people waiting to get in and then, from there, a constant stream.”
One voter in the stream, Carla Kuizon, said she has never missed an election: “Not even when I was overseas.”
She added, “I always vote. I was taught that. And I’ve taught that.”
Island voters cast ballots in local, state and federal races — from fire district to U.S. senator, from city commission to governor.
In the races at the top of the ballot, the Island votes were in line with the rest of the state.
For U.S. Senate, Republican Marco Rubio won with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Independent Charlie Crist with 29 percent and Democrat Kendrick Meek with 20 percent.
On the Island, Rubio polled as high as 54 percent in Holmes Beach Precinct 92 and as low as 47 percent in Bradenton Beach. Meek, meanwhile, barely reached over 10 percent on the Island, but Crist’s numbers were much higher than the state percentage — 37 percent in Anna Maria, 36 percent in Holmes Beach and 38 percent in Bradenton Beach.
For the U.S. House, incumbent Vern Buchanan again won his district, defeating James Golden 69 percent to 31 percent.
On the Island, Buchanan polled the highest in Holmes Beach’s Precinct 92, 70 percent, and the lowest in Bradenton Beach, 65 percent.
For governor, Republican Rick Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink 49 percent to 48 percent statewide.
On the Island, Scott did slighter better than the statewide stat, polling more than 50 percent.
In the Legislature, the Island’s new representative will be Republican Jim Boyd, who defeated Independent Dave Miner overall with 62 percent of the vote.
On the Island, Boyd polled 61 percent in Anna Maria, 58 percent in Bradenton Beach and 62 percent in Holmes Beach.
In the race for an at-large seat on the Manatee County Commission, incumbent Republican Carol Whitmore won easily, with close to 70 percent of the vote countywide and polling above 70 percent on the Island.
In one of three West Manatee Fire District commission races, voters elected a challenger over an incumbent — Scott Ricci defeated Mike Mulyck. Incumbents Larry Tyler and John Rigney won their races against Michael Carlton and Monther Kobrosly respectively.
In Island city races, Mike Selby defeated Sandy Mattick for mayor in Anna Maria, incumbents Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti kept their seats on the Holmes Beach City Commission against a challenge from Jean Peelen, and incumbent Janet Vosburgh defeated Michael Harrington for the Bradenton Beach Ward 4 commission seat.
Precinct, early and absentee ballots were certified last week at the supervisor’s office in Bradenton. Provisional ballots were scheduled to be reviewed Nov. 12. However, there were no provisional ballots from the Island precincts.