With early voting underway throughout the state for the Aug. 18 primary elections, more than 1.7 million Floridians had voted by mail or at early-voting sites as of late Monday morning. Nearly 90 percent of the ballots had been cast by mail.
Early voting started in parts of the state on Aug. 3 and was required to be in place statewide on Saturday. As of late Monday morning, 177,922 people had voted early, including 93,863 Republicans and 73,187 Democrats, according to numbers posted on the state Division of Elections website. Meanwhile, 1,554,816 mail-in ballots had been cast, including 767,327 by Democrats and 554,639 by Republicans.
Jefferson County Supervisor of Elections Marty Bishop said a drop in early voting likely stems from the COVID-19 pandemic and a push by most supervisors for people to vote by mail. Bishop said supervisors are taking steps to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 at polling places.
“When the voter comes in and marks the ballot (in Jefferson County), they are told to carry the pen with them,” he said. “We are not using secrecy folders because of the contact of using them over and over again. We have masks and we have hand sanitizer.” The Aug. 18 primaries include races for congressional and legislative seats and numerous local posts throughout the state.