Two million Floridians vote early in 2018 primary elections

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TALLAHASSEE, FL (Gray DC) -- It’s not even election day yet and already about two million Floridians cast their ballots for races this year. Our Alana Austin previews the big day Tuesday and lingering concerns over election security.

Voters showing up in droves this year to have their voices heard in Florida’s midterm elections. Already turn-out at the polls is outpacing 2016 numbers.

All eyes on the Sunshine State as primary voters head to the polls Tuesday to nominate candidates for offices, including the U.S. Senate and Governor.

Leon County supervisor of elections Mark Earley says local races are also driving high voter turnout.

“We’ve already voted so many people and we’re ready and willing and happy to serve you and get your vote," said Earley.

Monday, poll workers stopped by the supervisor of elections’ office for last-minute questions and information. Earley says election officials have been putting in many hours behind-the-scenes, and they’re ready for prime time.

“It’s always a busy day," Earley explained. “Election day is kind of the culmination to a long effort from our staff and a long opportunity for our voters to vote.”

The highly competitive races in Florida are attracting national attention but there’s another reason the state is in the spotlight.

The federal government says Russians tried to access Florida’s election system in 2016. There are no reports any votes were manipulated, but Danielle Root at the Center for American Progress has concerns about what could happen this year.

"We know that Russia and other foreign adversaries are trying to perpetuate confusion and really attack the American spirit when it comes to our democratic elections and we need to step up and show show you who we are as American voters," explained Root, the voting rights manager at the Center.

Earlier this year, the liberal-leaning think tank gave Florida an “F” rating in state-wide election security. Root says she hopes to see Florida beef up auditing requirements and go back to paper ballots across-the-board.

“There still is a chance for states to make significant improvements, but we are very very quickly running out of time," said Root.

Amid those concerns, this spring, Congress approved $380 million dollars go to states to shore up elections systems.

For those planning to vote this Election Day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also remember to bring a government-issued ID with you. Otherwise, you’ll have to cast a provisional ballot.

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