Nearly 4.5 million in Fla. have voted already

Early voting shortened in Florida from 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. - More than a third of Florida's registered voters have already voted, either by absentee ballot or during the state's shortened early-voting process, according to early voting statistics compiled by George Mason University.

Absentee ballots will be accepted up to the state's 7 p.m. poll-closing time on Tuesday, so many more such votes will be cast.

With the number of early-voting days cut from 14 to 8 by the Republican-dominated legislature and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, early voting is down from 2008.

About 2.6 million people voted early in 2008, compared to 2.4 million this year, according to the GMU study.

Democrats tend to vote early voting more often than Republicans.

But Republicans favor absentee ballots, and that number is expected to increase from 1.7 million in 2008 to about 2 million this year.

Republicans also appear to be more motivated to vote this year than in 2008, when President Obama handily defeated Sen. John McCain in Florida.

While more Democrats than Republicans have voted early, that 247,000-ballot margin shrinks to 133,000 when the Republicans' advantage in absentee ballots is factored in.

That edge in party identification among early and absentee voters is less than half the edge the Democrats posted in 2008.

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