SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Across Central Florida, voters are already turning out in huge numbers. In Sumter County, the Supervisor of Elections reported nearly 80% of people have already voted.
News 6 political analyst Jim Clark said President Donald Trump’s approximately 120,000-vote margin of victory in Florida for the 2016 election came from three Central Florida counties: Lake, Marion and Sumter.
The Villages, a large retirement community, spreads across all three counties. A majority of it sits in Sumter. That’s why Clark said those votes may be the best early indicator of how the election may turn out.
Monday, the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections reported an early voter turnout of nearly 80%. That’s more than 83,000 voters. In 2016, the county hit about 84% overall for the general election with less voters casting their ballots.
Clark said the high early voter turnout is unheard of, and probably due to the recent visits from the Trump campaign.
“Almost overnight, the voting turnout went from about 50% to over 70% and now it’s headed to 90%. You never see figures like that. Statewide four years ago, we were at 75%, so Sumter County is going to end up as one of the highest vote percentages in the entire nation,” Clark said.
In 2016, Trump led in Sumter County by more than 30,000 votes, according to the Department of State - Division of Elections. Clark said Biden may have more of a foothold compared to Hillary Clinton four years ago.
“We could see some strength by Democrats, there has been some pro-Biden demonstrations in The Villages, which has been unheard of in the very conservative Republican villages,” Clark said.
Clark said Trump will need two out of three votes in The Villages to have a chance at winning re-election and expects a large Republican crowd to show up to the polls on election day.
“President Trump railed against mail-in ballots. A lot of people thought that would depress the number of mail-in ballots, and in fact it’s setting records, not only in Florida but all over the country. I think this is coming as a surprise to lots of people,” Clark said.