JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Halfway through Florida’s two weeks of early voting, more than 2.2 million Floridians have cast ballots. While the number of in-person ballots so far swamped records of early voting, it remains dwarfed by the avalanche of 3.8 million mail-in ballots received as of Sunday night. Together, that’s 6 million advanced votes cast eight days before the election, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
Most counties continue early voting through next Saturday while Nassau and Duval counties remain open through Sunday before Election Day, as well.
Mail-in ballots received have blown past the previous record of votes received in any previous Florida election, with more than 2 million ballots mailed to voters yet to be returned. (Voters who requested a mail ballot who want to vote in person need only to turn it in to receive an in-person ballot.
Democrats have returned nearly 600,000 more ballots by mail than Republicans, but Republicans have edged Democrats in in-person voting by just over 350,000 and in-person voting totals are growing faster than the number of mail-in ballots.
Added together, 41% of Florida’s registered voters had cast ballots eight days before the election. Among local counties, St. Johns and Nassau counties are nearing 50% turnout with only mail and early voting so far.
Nationally, nearly 60 million Americans have voted. Ballots submitted or voted in states that have already opened in-person early voting represent more than 38% of all registered voters and is approaching 43% 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.
For turnout in all Florida counties, visit the Florida District of Elections public stats page.
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.
“The Republican numbers are going to pick up,” said John Couvillon, a GOP pollster who is tracking early voting. “The question is at what velocity, and when?”
Floridians voting by mail in recent elections
Associated Press contributed to this report.