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First day of early voting in Florida breaks record

About 3 million Floridians have already voted two weeks before Election Day. Overall, more than 1.4 million Democrats in Florida have cast ballots, compared to more than 960,000 Republicans.

With two weeks to go until Nov. 3, more than 3 million Floridians have already voted in the 2020 general election after a record first day of early in-person voting coupled with strong vote-by-mail numbers.

More than 366,000 voters cast in-person ballots on the first day of early voting in most counties, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

That turnout appears to shatter the number of voters on the debut of in-person voting in 2016. News reports at the time said about 300,000 people turned out on that first day in 2016 when 50 counties offered early voting on the first day. This year, two more counties offered it.

The remaining counties will start early voting over the next several days. Early voting must start for all counties on Saturday.

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties reported unprecedented numbers of early in-person voter turnout Monday. Hillsborough reported more than 24,000 voters, compared to fewer than 19,000 on the first day of early voting in 2016. Pinellas, with about 8,400 in-person voters on Monday, nearly doubled its first-day turnout from four years ago.

Those totals don’t include the people who stopped by early voting sites and other locales to drop off mail ballots Monday. Hillsborough County alone said it received nearly 13,600 mail ballots in its drop boxes Monday.

Related: Early in-person voting kicks off across Florida

Both counties also reported strong early voter turnout Tuesday, with Pinellas reporting nearly 8,000 in-person voters and Hillsborough saying it saw more than 22,000.

Democrats were slightly more likely to turn out for the first day of in-person early voting than Republicans, according to the state data. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to dominate vote-by-mail ballot returns.

Polling shows that Republicans are more likely to vote in person this year while Democrats are more likely to vote from afar. So as early in-person voting continues, it’s possible that Republicans will make up ground.

More than 2.6 million people have already cast ballots by mail, according to the state’s Tuesday morning data. That exceeds the total number of vote-by-mail ballots cast in the entire 2018 general election and is already close to the 2.7 million people who voted this way in the 2016 general election.

Overall, more than 1.4 million Democrats in Florida have cast ballots, compared to more than 960,000 Republicans. No-party-affiliated voters have cast more than 580,000 ballots.

Early in-person voting will continue in some counties through Sunday, Nov. 1 (with the exception of Bay and Gulf counties, which will have voting sites available on Nov. 2 as well). Election Day is Nov. 3.

Voters can continue to return mail ballots until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Ballots must be received by elections offices by that deadline.

Tampa Bay Times elections coverage

VOTER GUIDE: Access the Tampa Bay Times’ Know Your Candidates guide at tampabay.com/voterguide.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING IN FLORIDA? WE HAVE THE ANSWERS: We’ve compiled information on early voting locations, rules for voting by mail and more.

AMENDMENTS: State constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot, explained.

FELONY CONVICTION? Here are Florida’s rules for registering to vote.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS: So you want to vote by mail in Florida? Here’s what you need to know.

POSTAL SERVICE CONCERNS: What’s going on with the U.S. Postal Service and should Florida be worried?

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