SARASOTA- Over 8 million people cast ballots in the state of Florida and Sarasota and Manatee Counties saw some of the highest voter turnouts.

67.13% of Voters in Manatee County came out to the polls yesterday. And 66.88% of voters turned out to vote in Sarasota County. The counties finished with the Third and Fourth highest voter turnout percentage in the state.

“Manatee County really truly votes,” Bennet said. “Even in our primary we had one of the highest turnouts in the state, so we kind of expect it.”

“We have great voters in Sarasota County,” Turner said. “Who are very engaged, who want to be part of the process, who understand that for government to work well that the voters need to be part of that process.”

Both Elections Offices credit the high turnout to exciting candidates and races inspiring voters to get to the polls.

“We had two high profile races on the ballot at least,” Turner said. “The U.S. Senate and the governor’s race, you had congressional races locally that were important to some people, and then the questions, the amendments drove some people.”

“You have two very diametrically opposed people,” Bennet said. “And you had the Republican Party on the national level dumping a ton of money in the state of Florida encouraging people to get out, you had the Democratic party dump a ton of money into the state of Florida to get out the vote.”

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner says high voter turnout and excitement is a trend they’ve seen in every election over the past year.

“Hopefully that momentum,” Turner said. “It wasn’t just the general election, but had been building up to that general election, and I think going into next year and into the 2020 election I think that we’ll continue to see that energy.”

Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennet says if they want the momentum to continue, they need to figure out how to engage non-party voters with parties moving farther to the left and right.

“But the people in the middle are the no-party affiliates,” Bennet said. “So I think somewhere along the line in the state of Florida, we’re going to have to look at some way to engage those non- republican, non-democrat voters.”