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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

More than 2 million ballots cast in advance of Tuesday's voting



More than 2 million Floridians have already cast ballots in Florida's presidential preference primary, and more than half of them (1.1 million and counting) are Republicans. By the time polls close Tuesday, the statewide turnout is expected to set a new record for votes cast in a presidential primary in Florida.

University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith notes on his blog that through the weekend, more than 600,000 voters had not yet returned their mail ballots. Smith's analysis shows that the three counties with the most unreturned absentee ballots are, in descending order, Pinellas, Miami-Dade and Broward.   

County canvassing boards are ramping up their reviews of mail ballots with defects, such as an unsigned ballot envelope or an envelope signed by someone other than the voter. Those decisions are made at public meetings in all 67 counties, and it's a judgment call by canvassers, and supervisors of election want every vote to count, so they often give the voter the benefit of the doubt.

Through Sunday, Miami-Dade reported 1,082 unsigned ballots and 778 with other problems. Broward reported 654 unsigned ballots and 199 with other problems. These are the totals of unsigned or unresolved ballots in Tampa Bay: Hillsborough, 576; Pinellas, 227; Pasco, 175; and Hernando, 42.

Four years ago, when only Republicans had a contested presidential contest, these five counties reported the highest voter turnouts by percentage: Sumter, 60.2; Collier, 57.3; Citrus, 51.8; Indian River, 51.1 and Martin, 50.

[Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2016 1:53pm]


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