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Voters are showing up in strong numbers elsewhere. But not around Tampa Bay

The last day to vote early is Sunday, when some church leaders rally souls to the polls.
 
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer says lagging voter turnout so far this year is disappointing.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer says lagging voter turnout so far this year is disappointing. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Nov. 4, 2022

Voter turnout across the Tampa Bay area so far is down compared to the last comparable election, the 2018 mid-term, according to figures from county elections supervisors.

Nationwide, some data indicate an unusually high level of interest in the Nov. 8 election, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

Some supervisors expressed surprise, and suggested that more people are planning to vote on election day or that the final Souls to the Polls events today Sunday, Nov. 6 could boost the figures.

In Hillsborough, about 21 percent of the county’s registered voters had voted by mail or at early voting sites by Monday, Oct. 31, compared to 24 percent at the same time before the 2018 election, figures Hillsborough elections Supervisor Craig Latimer called disappointing.

The story was similar in Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas.

In Pinellas, 177,018 mail ballots had been returned and 21,443 early-vote ballots cast as of Wednesday, compared to 186,007 mail ballots and 28,839 early votes six days before the 2018 election. The totals represent a decline from 32 percent in 2018 to 28.5 percent this year.

In Pasco, Supervisor Brian Corley said mail voting “is on a path to surpass 2018,” but early voting is down.

And in Hernando, Supervisor Shirley Anderson said total early and mail turnout is down from 29 percent at this point in 2018 to 24 percent, with early voting up very slightly but mail voting down significantly.

Nationwide, the picture looks different. McClatchy news service last week reported a 15 percent increase in pre-election day voting compared to 2018, and NBC has reported polling it said shows voter interest at “an all-time high.”