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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nearly 2 million votes cast in Florida primary elections before polls opened Tuesday

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 12:02 PM

More Floridians have voted before Tuesday’s elections than in past primaries, yet hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots have not been returned by voters.

Nearly 1.86 million votes had been cast as of Monday morning, with almost 1.2 million vote-by-mail ballots returned and another 658,800 ballots cast at early-voting sites, according to the Florida Department of State.

Florida has 13 million registered voters.

Two years ago, 1.82 million votes were cast before the primary. In 2014, the number was 1.2 million.

Democrats, with a weekend surge in, cast 317,499 ballots at early-voting locations and had submitted 491,810 vote-by-mail ballots.

Republicans had accounted for 557,121 votes by mail and 296,585 early votes. People registered with third parties or who are unaffiliated accounted for 44,716 early votes and 150,077 votes through the mail.

At the same time, nearly 1.39 million requested vote-by-mail ballots had not been returned to elections supervisors, including more than 1 million to voters of the two major parties.

Democrats had held onto 576,707 vote-by-mail ballots, and Republicans have yet to send in 449,159 ballots. Primary voters are casting ballots in statewide races for governor, agriculture commissioner and attorney general.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which has been providing daily updates on early voting statistics, has attributed the number of unreturned mail-in ballots to people possibly remaining undecided about candidates in key races.

In 2016, 391,615 Democrats and 388,735 Republicans who had signed up for vote-by-mail ballots did not use them. Two years earlier, 400,013 Democrats and 383,548 Republicans didn’t use their requested vote-by-mail ballots.

However, in 2014, there were only three statewide primaries as Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and former Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, all Republicans, sought re-election.

Two of the statewide primaries were Democratic races for governor and attorney general. Meanwhile, Scott had two primary challengers who combined to receive less than 13 percent of the vote.

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