JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More Floridians have now voted before Tuesday’s elections than in past primaries, while more than 1 million mail-in ballots have not yet been returned by voters.
Nearly 1.86 million votes were cast as of Monday morning, with almost 1.2 million citizens voting by mail and another 650,000 using early voting sites, according to the Florida Department of State.
Democrats used a final weekend surge to surpass Republicans in early voting by 20,000.
Meanwhile, the GOP led in absentee votes cast by 65,000.
When 14 days of early voting ended Sunday, 46,841 Duval County residents had cast ballots in person. Another 22,439 mail-in ballots were validated. That's 11.7 percent of Jacksonville's registered voters.
"Earlier we were hoping for 30 percent (turnout)," Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. "We saw an uptick in registration. We had a lot of calls an interest in this election, but the number look like we get 24 to 25 percent -- somewhere in that range."
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Florida State University political science professor Carol Weissert feels the increase in pre-election day voting does not necessarily mean the overall vote count will be up from years past.
She says it just means campaigns need to get their message out a lot earlier.
“Generally, people who vote early or absentee would have voted anyway. So sometimes it is a substitute rather than an addition," Weissert said. "If indeed we see more people voting in person, then that will be quite terrific.”
All precincts in all counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Florida has 13 million registered voters, and primary contests are being held statewide in races for governor, agriculture commissioner and attorney general, along with a host of congressional, legislative and local races.