ORLANDO, Fla. – We may be 43 days from Election Day, but voters in Central Florida can start casting their ballots soon.
Many counties will begin sending their vote-by-mail ballots out this week.
Osceola County will begin mailing their domestic vote-by-mail ballots on Thursday.
Osceola County’s Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington said voters should expect to begin receiving their ballots early next week.
She added that the election starts as soon as voters receive their vote-by-mail ballots.
“Next week you could start voting,” Arrington said.
Arrington said they have 81,105 ballots going out in the mail.
“That’s about 40% of our voters, and we still have 32 days to request a mail ballot and those requests are coming in several hundred a day,” Arrington said.
It’s a number that Arrington said is up by 25% from the 2016 general election.
Arrington said they’ve seen a steady increase in vote by mail over the years, but said COVID-19 has exacerbated it.
“I think a lot of it is our voters have health concerns, they just don’t know what Nov. 3rd’s going to look like,” Arrington said.
Other Central Florida Counties have also seen an increase in requests for vote-by-mail ballots this election, compared to the 2016 general election.
For example, in Orange County, Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said, “Orange County currently has 261,251 requests for vote-by-mail ballots. We currently have 840,000 register voters. This will increase as Oct. 5 is the last day to register to vote in Florida.”
In the 2016 general election, Cowles said they counted 159,512 vote-by-mail ballots.
In Brevard County, so far for the 2020 general election, they have about 170,000 requests for vote-by-mail ballots.
That number is up from the 2016 general election, where there were 92,693 registered voters who voted by mail.
In Lake County, already for this year, their supervisor of elections said they have had requests for 71,718 vote-by-mail ballots, compared to the 41,260 they mailed in the 2016 general election.
Arrington said with the higher volume of vote-by-mail ballots, they’ve added additional staff and equipment this election.
Other counties with vote-by-mail ballots going out on Thursday are Lake and Marion.
Seminole County officials said theirs will begin mailing between Thursday and Oct. 1.
Orange County leaders said their domestic vote-by-mail ballots begin mailing on Sept. 30.