Mail ballot requests for Florida's primary surpass 2 million
One of every six voters in Florida, or more than 2 million, will receive a mail ballot in advance of the state's Aug. 30 statewide primary election, and the number will keep growing over the next month.
The state Division of Elections reported Friday that the requests so far total 2,062,551, with Republican voters outpacing Democrats by about 926,000 to 778,000. The growing number of requests shows the increased popularity of voting by mail, or what used to be known as voting absentee (the Legislature passed a law in 2016 removing the word "absentee" from the statutes).
To put that 2 million number in perspective, it almost equals the turnout in the last August primary in a presidential election year, when 2.3 million people participated.
Pinellas voters outpace all counties in mail ballot requests, with 247,653 as of Friday, or more than 10 percent of the statewide total. That's a reflection of the long-standing emphasis by Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. Every Pinellas voter who gets a ballot in the mail can check a box on the ballot envelope that says, "I want to keep voting by mail," and many do, she said.
Clark's website explains the basics of voting by mail. The ballots themselves will go out in the mail beginning next Tuesday, July 26. Clark has invited news photographers to capture the moment at about 9 a.m. as she mails about 247,000 ballots stacked on 22 pallets, each one stacked five feet high with ballots to be loaded into delivery trucks.