Day before polls open in Florida, nearly 5.1 million have voted

Record numbers of voters for a midterm election, but what does it mean?

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Poll workers said they had never seen hour-long signs at early voting sites, which voters experienced in Jacksonville and around the state over the weekend. By Sunday night, nearly 5.1 million Floridians had cast a ballot either early or by mail -- half-again more than any previous midterm election.

As county election supervisors prepare for Election Day, more than 38 percent of Floridians had already voted -- a record for any election and unheard of in an election without a presidential candidate on the ballot.

Is this an indication of the Blue Wave Democrats are hoping for? Slightly more Democratic voters have cast ballots than Republicans and nearly 1 in 5 votes are from voters with no political party.

Or is this part of Red Wave that President Donald Trump is predicting? Or could it be that more people just like the convenience of early voting?

The only thing we're sure of is that Florida voters are engaged in this election.

Florida State University Political Science Professor Carol Weissert says high profile and close races for U.S. Senate and the governor’s office led many people to make their minds up early in the process.

"There’s been a lot of attention on the campaign. It makes sense that there is more early voting and absentee voting," Weissert said."

General election turnout after close of early voting

While I waited the better part of an hour to vote Sunday, those I spoke with had done their homework. They knew it was a long ballot with a dozen amendments, many of them addressing multiple issues and downright confusing.

And a few "down ballot" races no one hears about -- soil and water conservation districts, airport authorities and judicial seats -- were the most viewed items in the News4Jax Voter's Guide in recent days. Why? Because while you can find information about the big races everywhere, frankly, there's not many places that offer information on the hyper-local and low-profile races.

News4Jax will also be a source of the latest results Tuesday nights for all the races. Our webcast begins at 7 p.m., when the polls close. Broadcast coverage on Channel 4 begins at 8 p.m. We'll have crews live at the headquarters of the biggest candidates, and we'll track the outcome of every race -- 165 of them, from the top races in Florida and Georgia to those smaller races closest to where you live.

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