TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Tuesday’s Florida primary contests were shaped by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 2.3 million people casting mail-in ballots.
That compares to fewer than 1.3 million in the 2016 primary. Unlike 2016, when there were primaries for U.S. Senate that helped drive up turnout, there were no statewide races on the August 2020 ballot.
This year also has been tough on House incumbents. The eight defeats double 2018’s total and are the most since 1974 to lose in a year when the nation’s congressional districts hadn’t just been redrawn to reflect a new census, which happens every 10 years.
While President Donald Trump has raised questions about the potential for fraud in voting by mail, he later walked back his comments, at least as far as Florida was concerned, and requested a mail-in ballot of his own.
Democrats now have the registration edge in Florida, but independents can, as usual, make all the difference. As of June 30, Florida had nearly 4.9 million active Republican voters and more than 5.1 million active Democratic voters.
The state has nearly 3.8 million voters who either are not registered with a party or are registered with a minor party.
James Collins, 69, a retiree in Fort Lauderdale, said that because he was “a bit apprehensive because of the pandemic,” he went to his polling station early in the morning Tuesday, donning vinyl gloves and a face mask.
“No one was there except the poll workers. It was very quick,” Collins said.
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