While the lengthy ballot will cause some delays, it is not expected to be as bad as 2012 as a majority of voters will have already cast ballots.
As of Friday morning, 869,745 Republicans had cast ballots, compared to 808,288 Democrats and 347,488 unaffiliated voters, out of the state’s nearly 13.3 million registered voters.
On Wednesday, the Flagler County Canvassing Board was going through almost as many mailed-in ballots in a single day as it did for the entire 2014 election. The rest of the state is seeing a similar surge.
The numbers in Flagler County look grim for Democrats looking for a strong turnout: it’s not happening for them as it is for Republicans, and what is taking place will only slightly exceed turnout in 2008.
Early voting gives political parties and special interests a chance to manipulate, to lock up blocs of votes in advance of Election Day and to keep opposition parties and candidates from offering another viewpoint, argues Nancy Smith.
Research shows early voting increases turnout by 2 percent to 4 percent. In some cases, it particularly boosts voting among minorities, a constituency that tends to vote Democrat.
By letting Jim Landon’s feud with Supervisor of Elections Kim Weeks drag on at voters’ expense, the Palm Coast City Council is improperly letting its unelected city manager set early voting policy while reminding us why it bears a big share of the blame for sending election turnouts in Palm Coast tumbling to record lows for the past several cycles.
The clash between Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks and Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon is not nearing resolution even as a majority of the city council would extend free use of a room at the community center for early voting, because Weeks is insisting on using a larger room, which the council won’t concede.
Weeks, who expects a very low turn-out, is not planning on having an early-voting site for the June 7 special election, which falls on a Friday. The election may cost upwards of $100,000. The commission voted 5-0 to place the initiative on the ballot.
A proposal designed to expand early voting days and limit the length of ballots unanimously passed a House subcommittee Wednesday, but Democrats warned the measure would need to change to continue to attract bipartisan support.