Nearly 114,000 Florida voters took advantage of the first day of early voting Monday and cast ballots in one of 31 counties that opened early voting sites. Just over 50,000 of those early ballots were cast by Democrats compared to more than 45,500 submitted by Republicans.
But the GOP still maintains a strong lead in the number of vote-by-mail ballots — a nearly 60,000 ballot lead. As of Tuesday morning, numbers compiled by the state Division of Elections shows 454,275 Republican voters have returned their mail-in ballots, while Democrats have returned 396,008.
Despite the current lopsided lead the GOP holds in mail-in ballots returned, Democrats continued to insist on Monday that a “blue wave” was developing in the vote-by-mail numbers.
“Current breakdowns show registered Democrats trailing Republicans in ballot returns by less than 6 percentage points, compared to a 14-point margin at this point in the 2014 midterms,” Democrats said in a memo sent out Monday. “Per Politico, the GOP margin has shrunk from 9.2 percentage points last Monday. We expect this margin to continue closing as largely Democratic counties begin in-person early voting today.”
So far in Florida, a total of 1.1 million ballots had been cast as of Tuesday morning.
“Early voting offers registered Florida voters another convenient way to cast their ballot and reduces the potential for waiting in line on Election Day,”said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “All 67 counties will offer early voting from October 27 through November 3 at designated early voting sites. Some counties may offer additional days of early voting and counties severely impacted by Hurricane Michael have more flexibility in providing early voting and vote-by-mail options to their voters.”
Broward County led the state on the first day of early voting with more than 16,000 voters casting ballots. Miami-Dade was second with more than 15,000 Floridians submitting an early ballot. Palm Beach County was third with nearly 11,000 early ballots cast.