Fired-up Democrats close ballot gap with GOP; turnout nears 1.9 million

More people have voted in the 2018 primary than in 2016, a presidential election year.
An early voting march in Fort Lauderdale Sunday [David Smiley - Miami Herald, via Twitter]
An early voting march in Fort Lauderdale Sunday [David Smiley - Miami Herald, via Twitter]
Published Aug. 27, 2018|Updated Aug. 27, 2018

Fired-up Democrats flocked to early voting sites over the weekend to give the party an early voting advantage over Republicans and close the gap in turnout between the parties two days before election day.

Statewide totals released early Monday show that turnout is 14.3 percent, with nearly 1.9 million ballots cast. The overall Republican advantage in turnout, including all voters casting mail ballots, has shrunk to about 2 percentage points, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Democrats overtook Republicans in early voting on Sunday for the first time, as candidates and their supporters mobilized "Souls to the Polls" marches to early voting sites.

In Broward, a focus of activity by three Democratic candidates for governor, the early voting total surged to 64,680, passing all other Florida counties on Sunday.

Pinellas County became the No. 1 vote-by-mail county over the weekend, with nearly 121,000 voters returning their ballots. Miami-Dade is a close second and Hillsborough is third.

With one full day left of counting mail ballots, more people have voted in this primary than voted early in the last primary in 2016, and that was a presidential election year.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday as voters statewide nominate candidates for governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner.

The forecast for Tuesday is for a typical late-August Florida day: Partly to mostly sunny with a high near 90, and a 50-50 chance of showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon.