The rush to get in ballots early shows no sign of easing. Just over 2 million Floridians voted during the first six days of early voting and 3.7 million mail-in ballots were received as of Sunday morning, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
Mail-in ballots received have already surpassed the total number of received in any previous Florida election and more than 2.2 million ballots mailed to voters have yet to be returned.
Democrats have returned nearly half-million more ballots by mail than Republicans, but Republicans have edged Democrats in in-person voting, with about a 130,000 advantage and early voting numbers are growing faster than the number of mail-in ballots.
Added together, 39% of Florida’s registered voters had cast ballots nine days before the election.
Nationally, more than 58.6 million Americans have voted. Ballots submitted or voted in states that have already opened in-person early voting represent more than 37% of all registered voters and nearly 42% of all the votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, according to the United States Election Project.
Americans' rush to vote is leading election experts to predict that a record 150 million votes may be cast and turnout rates could be higher than in any presidential election since 1908.
Among local counties, turnout rates are lower than the state average in Duval and Clay counties, but higher in St. Johns and Nassau counties.
Republicans have braced themselves for this early Democratic advantage for months, as they watched President Donald Trump railed against mail-in ballots and raise unfounded worries about fraud. Polling, and now early voting, suggest the rhetoric has turned his party’s rank and file away from a method of voting that, traditionally, they dominated in the weeks before Election Day.
But it does not necessarily mean Democrats will lead in votes by the time ballots are counted. Both parties anticipate a swell of Republican votes on Election Day that could, in a matter of hours, dramatically shift the dynamic.
“At some point, Republicans have to vote,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who tracks early voting on ElectProject.org. “You can’t force everyone through a vote center on Election Day. Are you going to expect all those Republicans to stand in line for eight hours?”
Floridians voting by mail in recent elections
Associated Press contributed to this report.