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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

More Pinellas voters mail in their ballots



Tomorrow marks the beginning of early voting in primary races, but thousands of voters in Pinellas County have already crossed that civic duty off their to-do list.

Thanks to the growing popularity of mail ballots, roughly 59,000 people — about 10 percent of the electorate — in the county had already cast their votes as of Thursday. That number puts the county on track to outpace mail ballot returns from the 2010 and 2008 primaries.

Mail ballots are practically an institution in Pinellas. Once reserved for people who needed a reason to mail it in, since 2002 they have been available to all registered voters. But they didn’t truly catch on until 2008 when paper ballots and optical scanners replaced touch screen machines.

Now, three of the top five bulleted items on the county’s elections website help you request a mail ballot, track your ballot, and scan how many people have returned their mail ballots so far.

Every day, the county publishes figures on how many people have requested and returned their mail ballots. The most recent data comes from Aug. 2, 12 days away from the election.

By that point in 2010, 48,757 people had sent in their mail ballots. At the same time in 2008, 20,762 people had voted this way. Come voting day, those numbers had nearly doubled.

Here’s what 2012’s August primary looks like 12 days away from the election:

  • There are about 603,000 registered voters in the county.
  • 59,068 mail ballots have been returned, 24.1 percent of those requested.
  • 27,718 mail ballots were returned by Republicans.
  • 22,299 mail ballots were returned by Democrats.
  • 9,051 mail ballots were returned by people registered with no party affiliation.

[Last modified: Friday, August 3, 2012 12:58pm]


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