TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — The second week of early voting is underway and nearly three million Floridians have cast their ballot. As each party enters the final push, numbers are showing more Republicans than Democrats have voted early.
“Right now, our early voting turnout is roughly a third of where we would expect it to be, compared to the 2018 and the 2020 elections,” Mark Earley, Supervisor of Elections President said.
Data from the Florida Division of Elections shows nearly 2 million Floridians have voted by mail and over 860,000 have participated in early voting.
Earley speculated about the cause of lower voter turnout, “We’ve done everything we can to get ballots in people’s hands and to get people registered. I think that maybe some folks think there’s a foregoing conclusion on who’s gonna win certain races,” Earley said.
Republicans are actively using mail-in ballots but Democrats still hold a tight lead.
“I think that the Democratic Party is not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to getting out the vote and trying to get the voters to the polls,” Ione Townsend, Hillsborough Democratic Party Chair said.
For months, Republicans have pointed to the precedent that the party in power typically loses seats.
“Both sides have actually mailed in the same number, which shows which is not normal. And says to me that there’s real enthusiasm among Republicans or real lack of enthusiasm among Democrats or both,” Rep. Randy Fine said.
This is grim news for Democrats who are fighting uphill against Republican control in both chambers of the legislature.
“I think the Democratic Party is going to have to really take a look, take stock, do a really nuts and bolts deep dive into where did we miss the boat? Where were we on target? What can we do to make sure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes in 2024?” Townsend said.
Democrats are facing a small window to catch up and the likelihood of a high GOP turnout on election day.
“There’s eight days before the election. There’s a lot of time for things to change, but only if people get out and make a difference and go out and vote,” Earley said.