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Charlie Crist leads “souls to the polls” on final day of early voting

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As the final day of early voting wound down, there were lines at voting sites and overall turnout was about 47.8 percent in Pinellas.

That number included both mail-in ballots that had been received and early voting as of about 4 p.m. Sunday, a day that saw candidates scrambling for every vote still left on the table.

One of the big pushes was the “Souls to the Polls” events, a statewide initiative designed to reach members of the faith community, particularly African-Americans, said Melissa Baldwin, the Tampa Bay regional press secretary of For Florida’s Future.

“Souls to the Polls” events were scattered across Florida, with several in the Tampa Bay area. According to a press release from For Our Future, the events, which combined entertainment and food, with the “get out and vote” message, was a success.

Thousands of congregants from dozens of faith organizations joined together today to celebrate the progress our country had made and ensure their community has a say in our future, the release said. At 15 “Souls to the Polls” events across the state, family fun, speeches and marches, among other activities, helped to ensure the last day of the popular early voting was a success.

In St. Petersburg, former Gov. Charlie Crist led a contingent of voters from Williams Park to the Courthouse, a block away.

Crist, like his opponent, David Jolly, had started the morning visiting African-American churches in southern St. Petersburg to urge voters to go to the polls. Then he took time to drop by the Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S, and stand in line to cast his ballot.

Crist, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Jolly for the Congressional District 13 seat.

The election is Tuesday.

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