Early voting in Florida on record pace

More expected to vote before Election Day than on Tuesday

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

With five days to go before the general election, more Floridians have cast ballots than voted in the August primary, and for the second time in state history, election officials expect more people to vote early or absentee than on Election Day.

Most political analysts expect a total turnout in the Tuesday election of about 50 percent, or 5.8 million to 6 million of Florida's 11.9 million registered voters.

By Wednesday evening, 2.4 million ballots had been cast, with the biggest early voting weekend yet to come -- early voting continues through Saturday in all counties and through Sunday in Duval and a few other counties. That means a majority voting before Election Day seems certain.

Whether this means more people will vote in this election or just that people who normally vote at their precinct are taking advantage of the convenience of early voting won't be known until all the votes are in on Tuesday night.

"What we've got to see is, did the voting population shift to prior to Election Day," Duval County Supervisor of Election Jerry Holland said Thursday. "Right now, it looks like the turnout will be higher than four years ago."

Most political analysts expect a total turnout in the Tuesday election of around 50 percent, or 5.8 million to 6 million of Florida's 11.9 million registered voters.

By Wednesday, 2.4 million ballots had been cast, with the biggest early voting weekend yet to come and many absentee ballots still out. That means a majority voting before Election Day seems certain.

FLORIDA VOTER INFORMATION: Voter's Guide | Early Voting
GEORGIA VOTER INFORMATION: Voter's Guide | Early Voting

The trend toward voting early has created a new form of political spin: forecasting the outcome of a race based on pre-election voting. Strategists for Charlie Crist and strategists for Gov. Rick Scott both say the numbers favor their candidate.

More Republicans than Democrats have cast early ballots, based on counts through Wednesday, but those votes are not counted until Election Day, so who they actually voted for will remain a mystery through Tuesday night.

Early voting continues through Saturday in all Florida counties and through Sunday in Duval, Bradford and a few other counties across the state.

Early voting started a week earlier in Georgia and ends Friday. The latest numbers show more than a half million votes have been cast and as some local counties, including Fulton, had already seen vote totals surpassing their early voting totals from 2010.

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