Although the general election doesn’t take place for five more weeks, voting in the Nov. 6 election effectively begins this week as more than 2.5 million vote-by- mail ballots are being sent out to registered voters up and down Florida.
Overseas ballots were mailed out last week. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Tuesday, October 9.
Supervisors of Elections in each of Florida’s 67 counties start mailing ballots today, and for the first time, more Democrats than Republicans have requested mail-in ballots.
According to the Division of Elections website, 2, 524,025 mail-in ballots have been requested for the November election. Of those, 1,019, 512 ballots were requested by Democrats ; 997,221 requested by Republicans, and 12,775 by non-party affiliated voters. That’s a Democratic advantage of more than 22,000 ballots.
Compare that to the most recent general elections: According to Democratic political strategist Steve Schale, the Republicans requested about 60,000 more mail-in ballots in 2016, and more than 128,000 ballots in 2014.
Schale also notes however, Republicans historically have a much higher percentage of returning their vote-by-mail ballots.
“The advantage means nothing if people don’t vote,” Schale tweeted on Tuesday, noting a huge number of unreturned ballots in the 2014 gubernatorial election. “In 14, 70k more Dems didn’t return their ballot compared to GOP. Scott won by 64k.”
Important reminder – GOP much better at getting ballots back. The advantage means nothing if people don't vote.
In 14, 70k more Dems didn't return their ballot compared to GOP. Scott won by 64k
— Steve Schale 🇺🇸 (@steveschale) October 2, 2018
A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith noted that a greater percentage of mail-in ballots cast by young people and people of color are rejected compared to ballots cast in person. The main reason? Missing signatures, or signatures that didn’t match those on file at the elections office.
In Florida’s 2016 presidential election, only 0.7 percent of all mail-in ballots cast by white voters were rejected, 1.9 percent of mail-in ballots cast by black voters were rejected, and 1.8 percent of mail-in ballots cast by Hispanic voters were rejected.
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