With the election just over two weeks away, nearly a million mail-in ballots have already been cast in Florida, and the pace of voting will pickup with nearly half of the state’s counties opening early voting sites opening Monday.
Thirty-one of 67 counties opened early voting sites on Monday that will be open for the next 14 days. Several large counties, including Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach have opened early voting sites. Other counties start in the coming week.
There’s a new twist to early voting this election. For the first time, early voting will also be available on several college campuses. Gov. Rick Scott’s administration contended campus buildings could not be used for early voting, but that decision was challenged in federal court and struck down in July. That could help increase the number of young people participating in this midterm election, as both parties target college-age voters.
So far, 930,571 ballots have been cast by vote-by-mail (VBM) and there is still no sign of a “blue wave” developing as Democrats insisted it would in a memo released last week.
“While Republicans are leading in VBM early returns — county-by-county returns, total VBM requests and returns in key demographics, provide early evidence of an impending blue wave for Democrats,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director, Juan Peñalosa, said in a memo sent out last Wednesday morning.
As of Monday morning, numbers released by the state Division of Elections show Republicans continue to hold a substantial lead, more than 51,000, in the number of ballots received by mail.
Republican voters have submitted 408,661 ballots compared to 357,119 returned by Democrats.
Early voting will likely indicate whether there will be a blue wave in Florida. Despite the expectations by Democrats, the GOP usually does better with mail-in ballots. Democrats tend to do better in showing up at early voting locations to cast a ballot.