Nearly 1 million ballots cast in Florida before Election Day

Majority of votes are mail-in ballots

Vote stickers are seen at a satellite election office at Temple University's Liacouras Center, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Florida voters have already cast nearly one million ballots in the 2020 general election, according to the United States Elections Project.

The project, led by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald collects publicly available data to analyze American elections.

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As of Wednesday, voters have cast more than 5.1 million ballots across the nation. Data shows 947,683 of those voters were in Florida meaning the Sunshine State is on its way to make up nearly a fifth of ballots already counted within the country. Those votes count both in-person and mail-in ballots.

McDonald is also taking a careful look at mail-in-ballot requests and returns this year as the coronavirus pandemic has discouraged some people from casting their vote in person.

Wednesday’s data shows nearly 5.5 million vote-by-mail ballots were requested in Florida with around 2.5 million were registered democrat and 1.7 million were registered republican. Democrats take the lead as nearly 500,000 ballots have already been returned compared to approximately 270,000 republicans mailing in their vote.

“We’ve known for some time that – in the states with party registration – more registered Democrats either have requested ballots or live in a state that will send automatically all qualifying voters a mail ballot. So, it is no surprise that more Democrats have cast mail ballots. This dynamic is likely a product of President Trump’s supporters listening to his disparaging rhetoric about mail balloting,” McDonald writes on his website. “What is increasingly becoming clear is that Democrats are returning their mail ballots at a higher rate, too. That is unusual.”

The Elections Project compares voter turnout to the previous presidential election. McDonald’s latest weekly report shows 3.3 million people across the U.S. had already voted by last week. According to Elections Projects data, by the same time period in 2016 only 74,836 people had cast their ballots.

McDonald notes though it is too soon to make any sweeping generalizations about voter turnout, as Election Day comes with its own trends.

“There is still plenty of time for Republicans to make up these mounting deficits. Election Day will undoubtedly be a red wave at the polls in many states, as it has been in the past,” McDonald writes in his analysis. “In-person early voting – a method of voting typically favored by Democrats – might be more Republican this year, as happened for the first time in Florida’s August state primary. Ironically, Republicans will have Democrats casting mail ballots to thank for making their in-person voting experience easier and safer because polling place lines will be shorter.”

As Election Day draws near those wanting to vote by mail should keep in mind that Oct. 24 is deadline to request mail in ballots.