Florida Politics

After Sunday’s early voting in South Florida, Democrats take slight turnout lead

Early voting began Monday October 22, 2018, at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
Early voting began Monday October 22, 2018, at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. South Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida’s turnout broke the 5-million mark overnight, largely on the strength of the largest early voting turnouts yet on Sunday in the big Democratic counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

By Monday morning, turnout was 5,094,645 or 38.4 percent of the Florida electorate. Democrats make up 40.6 percent of that total, and Republicans account for 40.1 percent. Independents and minor-party voters are 19.3 percent.

Democrats continue to lag in returning absentee ballots, so the surge comes from early voting in the largest counties.

Early voting ended Sunday evening with voters standing in the darkness in North Miami to vote, after an early voting site ran out of ballots.

Mail ballots will continue to arrive at county elections offices Monday and Tuesday. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

More than 40,000 people voted early on Sunday in Miami-Dade, by far the highest one-day turnout. Total early voting in Miami-Dade and Broward in 2018 was more than twice as high as it was in 2014.

The story was the same in Broward, where more than 36,000 turned out, and in Palm Beach, where more than 18,000 voters showed up on Sunday.

The major statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate remain close, which means Election Day turnout at precincts across the state could be decisive in 2018. In the past two statewide elections more Republicans than Democrats have voted on Election Day, and Republicans won close races both times.

“It’s all about tomorrow,” former Florida GOP chairman Al Cardenas tweeted Monday morning. “This one is going down to the wire.”

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