MIAMI
11/02/2012 04:44 pm ET Updated Nov 02, 2012

3.4 Million Early Ballots Cast In Florida Already; Rick Scott Declines Extra Hours

Floridians have voted in force over the last few weeks, casting more than 3.4 million ballots to date.

The Florida Division of Elections reports the state has counted nearly 1.6 million in-person votes since early voting opened last Saturday, in addition to another 1.7 million absentee ballots processed by 2 p.m. Friday.

Democrats lead in in-person early voting efforts by over 156,000 votes, with Republicans edging out the absentee vote by 80,000. Another half-million votes have been cast by independent and third-party voters.

Early voting has not been an easy process for many. CBS Miami reported wait times at the 37 collective early voting sites in densely-populated Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have been as long as three to five hours.

"You cannot believe the line out here right now, it's phenomenal," former Gov. Charlie Crist told The Miami Herald from a polling station in heavily Democratic Miami Gardens.

The Department of Justice is now monitoring early voting in Miami-Dade to ensure compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act following complaints of excessively long wait times, according to the Associated Press.

Requests to Gov. Rick Scott to extend early voting through Sunday have fallen on deaf ears, even with precedent set in 2004 and 2008 by prior GOP governors Jeb Bush and Crist, who extended the 96-hour early voting period to 120 hours after long lines formed at polls.

“We think that the hours we have right now are the best hours we’ve ever had,” said Scott's state elections spokesman Chris Cate, according to the Herald report.

Wednesday was the last day in Miami-Dade County registered voters could request an absentee ballot. Such ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day at the Miami-Dade elections office in Doral.

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