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Party Spin Kicks In as 1.9 Million Floridians Have Already Cast Early Voting Ballots

| October 30, 2012

Early voting at the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections location in Bunnell this weekend. (© FlaglerLive)

Nearly 1.9 million Floridians have already cast ballots in what is shaping up to be razor-thin presidential race in which about one-fifth of the registered voters are not affiliated with a political party.

In Flagler County, 7,000 voters had cast a ballot by Monday evening, after three days of early voting, not counting absentee ballots that have been mailed in. The 7,000 votes represent 10 percent of the electorate, with Monday’s tally of 2,602 ballots cast the largest of the three days of early voting yet.

A surge in the number of voters who say they have no party affiliation was evident following the weekend release of registration data by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections. The data show Democrats retaining a numeric advantage over their GOP rivals, but the margin has thinned since voters last went to the polls to elect a president.

In 2008, 42 percent of Florida voters were registered Democrats, compared to 36.1 percent who registered as Republicans. For next week’s election, the gap has closed to 40.1 to 35.6 percent.

Non-affiliated voters, who in 2008 numbered 2.1 million, increased their relative clout by adding nearly 470,000 – more than 22 percent- to their ranks. No-party-affiliation voters now make up about 21.6 percent, or about one in five voters.

Overall, the number of registered voters eligible to cast ballots in the upcoming election is 11.9 million, up 6.1 percent from 2008.

Republican voters continue to prefer absentee ballots compared to their Democratic counterparts, though that gap is also shrinking. As of Monday morning, local election officials had received nearly 1.4 million absentee ballots, with 50 percent of those coming from registered Republicans.

Democratic voters accounted for 39.5 percent of the absentee returns, with voters affiliated with other parties and NPAs making up the remainder.

In early voting, the roles reverse. Democrats made up 49.1 percent of the more than 528,000 voters who cast ballots over the weekend. Republicans made up 28.6 percent.

Both parties said the numbers bode well for their candidates. Democratic operatives touted their party’s lead in the overall pre-election tally, a slim margin of 42-41 percent.

“Democrats overtake GOP in ballots cast,” a post on the state Democratic Party website boasts.

“So the Democrats might crow about a very slight edge in total returns, but it is nowhere near the numbers that they need to run up to be in position for victory on election day,” the Republican Party of Florida responded Monday.”

Local supervisors said the pace of early voting was brisk over the weekend, but they cautioned that it is impossible to compare the turnouts of 2008 and 2012. In 2008 early voting started in most counties on a weekday instead of this year’s weekend kick off. Also, the number of early voting days has been cut from 12 to eight.

“We’re really talking apples and oranges,” said Amber Smith, an election official in Osceola County.

In Duval County, 38,925 voters cast ballots over the weekend; more than cast early ballots during the entire two weeks of early voting in 2010, a non-presidential year.

In Collier County, 180,000 voters had cast ballots by Sunday, with Republicans going to the polls or submitting absentee ballots by more than two-to-one margin.

More than 54,000 ballots were cast in Broward County over the weekend.

–Michael Peltier, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive

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2 Responses for “Party Spin Kicks In as 1.9 Million Floridians Have Already Cast Early Voting Ballots”

  1. NortonSmitty says:

    In the twentieth century, totalitarian regimes would always tout the fact that they were free and fairly elected by the choice of the people. It legitimized their government to say it’s citizens voted them into power, even though there was only one party. Nothing changed, the power of democracy inherent in the vote of the people showed their support of the status quo. But that’s not us, because we have one more party.

    In the old Soviet Union, you knew it was a joke because over 92% of the Politburo got re-elected. Here, if you take out the retirements, we send about 96% of them back.

    I am all out of smart-ass comments regarding this.

  2. Magnolia says:

    Norton, I’ll supply a comment for you. People in this country are too stupid to live. Most are now on the government dole with fewer and fewer paying taxes. That doesn’t seem to bother anybody. I am not for giving rich people tax breaks but it seems we will run out of rich people at the rate we are spending and growing the government.

    At this rate, this country will fall very soon. There are not enough rich people to save us.

    Most of the Congress, the House, runs every two years. There is no excuse for this.

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