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Election day is still 19 days away, but nearly a half million ballots have already been cast by mail in Florida for the Aug. 28 primary election. The early vote-by-mail numbers don’t appear to be supporting the much talked about “blue wave” that Democrats have been hoping for in November’s mid-term elections.

According to the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections, 448,242 mail-in ballots have been received by local elections offices as of Thursday morning.

While more mail-in ballots were requested by Democrats (857,029) than Republicans (755,261) more GOP voters have already submitted their ballots. Numbers compiled by the Division of Elections show 209,500 mail-in ballots, or 46.7 percent, have been returned by Republican voters, compared to 173,231, or 38,6 percent, received from Democrats.

More than 63,000 ballots have been returned as of Thursday morning from voters with no party affiliation, while more than 1,700 others have been returned from voters with other party affiliations.

Hillsborough County leads the state with 38,577 mail-in ballots that have been returned to date, with 17,289 coming from Republican voters and 15,934 from Democrats. Miami-Dade has the second highest number of vote-by-mail ballots returned with 37,931. Republicans have returned 16,297 of those ballots compared to 14,955 by Democrats.

The vote-by-mail numbers might not represent an accurate picture of actual voter turnout in the primary. That will come next week when early voting begins across the state leading up to the primary election on Aug. 28.

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