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3.5 million FL early ballots in; Dems lead by 76,000. But it's not like 2008

About 3.5 million Floridians have already cast absentee and in-person early voting and Democrats have an edge of about 76,000 ballots cast before the polls re-opened this morning.

Expect that to continue to grow over the next two days of in-person early voting, which Democrats dominate, especially in South Florida, which is why the GOP Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott effectively shortened early voting days. Democrats have rolled up a 156,000 early vote edge while Republicans lead in absentee ballots case by about 80,000. If every Democrat and Republican who requested an absentee ballot voted it, the GOP absentee-ballot lead would be cut by half.

Most polls show Mitt Romney's winning, and Republicans note that Democrats won't have the early vote advantage they had in 2008 (when they led by anywhere from 250,000 to 363,000 ballots, depending on how you analyze the data).

Well, shortening early voting days from 14 to eight will, by definition, help shorten the number of early votes. Understand also that, relative to the actual early voting hours available in South Florida in 2008, early voting time has been cut 20 percent, or 24 total hours. And South Florida favors President Obama the most.

However, Democrats are barely matching their raw early vote numbers compared to four years ago. So there's an enthusiasm gap relative to 2008 as well.

Democrats also point out that Republicans have been talking a better game than they've produced on the ground. Republicans predicted they'd be up in early ballots cast on Election Day. It's pretty clear they won't be. The Democratic total vote margin increases with each day of early voting.

So what happens on Election Day? May the best ground game win.

Early votes

Party          EV Total            %
DEM         770,892 46%
REP         614,988 37%
IND         286,988 17%
Total       1,672,868

Absentee votes

Party         AB Total              %
REP         781,043 44%
DEM         700,970 39%
IND         308,646 17%
Total       1,790,659

Cumulative EVAB

Party            EVAB            %
DEM       1,471,862 42%
REP       1,396,031 40%
IND         595,634 17%
Total       3,463,527

Outstanding absentee ballots:

Party     Outstanding            %
REP         362,920 36%
DEM         406,634 41%
IND         230,042 23%
Total         999,596

Comments

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G.Sanders

You have used failed logic. Cutting the number of days of early voting does not "be definition" reduce the number of early voters. When there was two weeks of early voting there were long stretches of time where no one was voting. If early voting numbers are down for the Democrats--it is because of the enthusiasm gap for the respective candidates---not because there are less days to vote early.

Dan Marino

What a load of bull, G. Take a look at the 2008 early vote numbers yourself. Individual daily totals were smaller because the hours for each day were shorter, but turnout was heavy across the board.

Safe at home

I wonder how those 595,634 INDs voted?

LesG

Re: G.Sanders

I've been coming to this site for the past few days to follow the FL early vote. I continue to be amazed at the fantasy world that the pro-Romney or pro-Repub or pro-right wing commenters live in.

They are so consumed by their hatred of Obama (and Dems) that they can't and don't use any common sense. Instead, they twist whatever the stated analysis & statistics are to fit their own twisted perceptions.

Witness the G. Sanders comment above.

Duh --- if you cut down the number of days for early voting, and the same or a greater number of people want to vote, you end up with very long lines, very long waits to vote, and alot of people just giving up and going home w/o voting. That was the cynical reason why FL Repubs cut the early voting time period and hrs. From a political strategy point of view, their opponents (Dems) gain a huge margin in votes in early voting, espec in SE FL, so they have curtailed it.

It has nothing to do with lack of Dem "enthusiasm." (In fact, to date, more Dems are voting absentee or early voting than their portion of total registered voters. THAT is a statistical indication of greater enthusiasm not less.)

My sister lives in Palm Beach County, and voted early 4 yrs ago. At the time, she was amazed -- a steady flow of people voting, but the lines were reasonable in length, and the wait was relatively short. This yr, she went to the same early polling place, and was floored. At 10:30 AM on a SATURDAY, the line to vote was literally around the block. It stayed that way the rest of the afternoon. She left, checked back several times, and then returned the next day, SUN, at roughly 9:30 AM. The line was longer than the day before, and the wait turned out to be 5 & 1/2 hrs. Yes, 5 &1/2 hrs just to exercise her right to vote. (What does THAT say about what is supposed to be the great US democracy that the right wing never gets tired of boasting about). My sister stuck it out, though, figuring the lines & wait would be just as bad any other early voting day this wk or on Tues. election day.

She did mention to me, though, that significant numbers of people left the line after waiting some time, probably because they had other appointments & chores to do.

Hopefully, those people returned during the past wk, or will vote today, Sat., or on election day Tues. Whether they did, or do, enthusiasm has nothing to do with it. No one in any US state should be expected to make several attempts and wait hrs in line to vote.

The blame for this situation belongs exclusively to the Repubs who created it by cutting back early voting days and time. It is outrageous that making it more difficult for people to vote is considered to be a legitimate political strategy in this day and age.

Tim

Call me naive, but I don't understand why this should be a partisan issue. Oh, I understand the cynical political calculation on the part of Gov. Scott and Tallahassee Republicans to reduce early voting days/hours. But there are tens of thousands of Republican voters standing in those insanely long lines in Miami Dade and PBC and even in Broward. Across the board in Miami Dade the wait was at least three hours today, and of course like LesG's sister above, many people have to leave without voting. In whose interests is it for the Division of Elections to set up a system that is patently failing this week and runs the risk of breaking down completely on Tuesday? As the Herald reported yesterday, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters requested Governor Scott extend early voting, as Governor Crist did in 2008. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/01/3078389/gov-rick-scott-not-likely-to-extend.html#storylink=cpy. I would suggest all Florida voters, Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike, would benefit by extending early voting into Sunday and Monday to ease pressure on Election Day. Gov. Scott's phone number is (850) 488-7146.

Cynical Idealist

Tim, in Miami-Dade, it is to the republicans advantage to have the lines long and for the system to break down because their voters request more absentee ballots and won't be standing in those lines. Therefore, more of the people who left the line, possibly to never return, are democrats. It's getting to where voters with any sense are requesting absentee ballots so they can vote in the convenience of their home or office, or wherever they want, then mail the ballot, or drop it off at the S.O.E.'s office

Sonya

I am outraged that folks have to wait for hours in such long lines to exercise their right to vote. It is a disgrace to Democracy. Governor Scott shame on you for not extending early voting hours - But what goes around comes around.

Rod

2012 ev is about 1million short of 2008 ev total, with time left to close the gap. I believe the enthusiasm argument is overblown. 2008 was also an historical election that will not replicate to this election. There is nothing abnormal about it.

The winner will be the one to get their souls to the polls on Election Day

Jesse N.

I managed to get through the EV line and vote in Florida City in about two hours on Friday morning, but only because I showed up at 7am, when the doors opened. Folks started showing up at 6am, according to the election workers. The line kept growing all the time I was there.

The election workers were awesome, though. They brought out bottles of iced water for those standing in line, and one woman inside even filled my coffee cup for me as I found my way to the booth! (My request was mostly a joke, but like she said, "We aim to please!"

To everyone still planning to hit the lines, I hope your guy wins, and my guy, too!

JP Knight

By statue, 96 hours of early voting in 2008. By statute, 96 hours of early voting in 2012. See the difference?

Cindy Graves

I hope this is supposed to be an opinion column and not a fact based news story although it is so hard to tell these days - we have the same number of hours to vote. IT WAS CHANGED to save $ the state of Florida does not have as we must have a balanced budget - Get your facts straight!

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