10/29/2012 09:14 am ET Updated Oct 29, 2012

Voters Set Miami-Dade, Broward Records On First Day Of Early Voting (PHOTOS) (UPDATED)

A whopping 25,002 people stood in line to cast ballots on Saturday, according to Miami-Dade election officials, setting a county record on the first day of early voting.

“It was more than double what it was on the first day of early voting in 2008," Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White told CBSMiami.

Early voters did experience frustrating long lines Saturday, with waits as long as five hours in some places -- though fortunately, those waits were much less on Sunday. Thanks to a ballot at least 5 pages front and back, officials were urging voters to arrive with decisions made in advance.

(Already by 9 a.m. Monday morning, some of Miami-Dade's 20 early polling stations had wait times of 2 hours, while others were listed with a wait of 5 minutes -- or none at all.)

Broward County, too, set a record on Saturday.

"We had 28,000 people vote Saturday," Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "That is an exceptional number, shocking. I did not realize that people would turn out the way they did."

This early voting period marks the first since the Republican-led Florida legislature reduced early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before election day -- a day on which black Floridians traditionally turn out heavily in after-church "Souls to the Polls" rallies.

The Miami Herald's Marco Caputo wrote that the turnout demonstrated exactly why GOP legislators moved to reduce early voting:

This year is the first that Democrats turned out in force, casting about 49 percent of the roughly 300,000 votes in just 12 hours across the state. Republicans cast 35 percent of the in-person ballots.

Republicans prefer to vote by absentee ballots, which are typically mailed in. The GOP led Democrats by a whopping 66,000 ballots cast on Saturday. Democratic early voting cut that lead by 60 percent in a single day.

All told, 1.6 million Floridians had voted by Sunday morning.

Even more Miamians voted early on Sunday, with 26,122 lining up at polls.

UPDATE, Oct. 29: This post has been updated with the latest polling figures from Miami-Dade officials. The Miami Herald initially reported a figure of 22,265.



Long Lines For Miami Early Voting