REMINDER: VISIT TFS TONIGHT FOR LIVE ELECTION DAY COVERAGE BEGINNING AT 6:30 EST.
One of the big differences between 2010 and 2014 is already emerging: record high turnouts for absentee and early voting are reported all over the state, especially in Democratic hot spots. While there are a few exceptions, in general numbers are much improved over where we were at in 2010. The trend fades slightly in South Florida, where Broward and Miami-Dade were more modest, though tens of thousands of absentee ballots remain un-returned in both counties. The Tampa and Orlando areas have seen high turnout, as is central and north Florida.
A round-up of the media coverage:
“Counted were nearly 80,000 ballots, including 2,439 votes cast Sunday at early voting locations, said Gerri Kramer, spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office. That represents just over 10 percent of total registered voters in the county. “That is the highest before-election turnout we’ve had for a primary,” she said.”
“During the eight-day early voting period that ended Saturday, 5,690 ballots were cast — more than ever before for a local primary election, Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said Monday.”
In Sarasota via the Herald-Tribute:
“In Sarasota County, just 2,800 voters have cast ballots during early voting, which started last Saturday. That’s more than 9,000 votes behind the number of early votes cast in 2010, the last comparable primary election season with a governor’s race. But more than 18,000 have sent in absentee ballots as of Tuesday in this year’s August election. That is more than 4,000 more ballots cast via mail compared with four years ago. And there’s more than 20,000 other absentee ballots out still that could yet be mailed in and added to the vote totals.”
In Flagler county via Flaglerlive.com:
“In the two weeks of early voting at three sites, 4,665 voters cast ballots for a turnout of 6.58 percent–the highest turnout among 20 counties in Central and Northeast Florida, according to a FlaglereLive tabulation of the counties’ figures. Those numbers do not include absentee ballots. Those rates tend to be higher. Flagler County’s rate is not only comparatively high: it is double the average turnout rate in the 20 counties, some of which had turnout rates of less than 2 percent.”
With many local elections being decided today, a high turn-out is a good sign that some of the malaise of 2010 has faded. Even though many precincts will be lucky to hit 20%, that number is a record in many areas for a primary mid-term election. A high turn-out rate among democrats is an excellent sign for November elections against Rick Scott. The big take-away from today will be the turn-out numbers and how the Ds perform. Tampa is having a record turn-out with all the local races and state house races and will be a major force in this election, especially in the governor’s and attorney general’s race.
On the flip side, Lake County is having record low-turn out, which may effect the 5 way open primary there for State Representative, which may be good luck for B Grassell.
Stay tuned for more updates as we all eagerly await results this evening.