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I-4 absentee-vote war: Early votes dominating from Tampa Bay to Orlando to Daytona

Polls tell us something about the state of the race in Florida. Absentee-ballot votes show us (column here).

Specifically the data show that the I-4 corridor, the central battleground of the nation's biggest battleground state is the most-contested region of the state when it comes to voting absentee ballots, according to a Miami Herald analysis.

Just head east on I-4 from the two biggest counties for returns Tampa Bay's Pinellas County (1) and Hillsborough (2), which is bordered on the east by Polk (7), which is bordered on the east by Orlando's Orange County (4), which is bordered on the east by Daytona's Volusia (6), the end of the I-4 roadway.

Those are the counties strictly on I-4. Sarasota (5) is just a little south of Tampa Bay and Pasco (10) is on the north borders of Hillsborough and Pinellas.

Only Miami-Dade (3), Marion (8) and Duval (9) are outside of the corridor (although Mario sort of touches Volusia).

More than 327,000 have been cast so far (a little background here). And the top ten counties account for 57 percent of them. Democrats are doing best in the top 5, Republicans in 6-10. The GOP is winning the overall absentee-vote chase 44-40 percent.

But there is some Republican wonderment at the Democrats' success, especially in Tampa Bay. When we asked Sen. Jack Latvala, a St. Petersburg Republican/Bay-area campaign expert, about what the Democrats are up to, he said tersely by text: "Wish I knew. Been wondering."

Here are the top 10 so far:

County Total % DEM REP R/D
PIN    43,797 13%     17,890   17,654     (236)
HIL    29,277 9%     12,692   11,679  (1,013)
DAD    24,963 8%       9,566   11,263   1,697
ORA    20,164 6%       9,247     7,730  (1,517)
SAR    16,996 5%       7,421     7,114     (307)
VOL    12,307 4%       4,469     5,746   1,277
POL    11,011 3%       4,680     4,733        53
MRN    10,537 3%       4,232     4,876      644
DUV    10,535 3%       4,014     5,180   1,166
PAS     9,473 3%       3,810     4,003      193