JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Much was discussed in the last few weeks over the surge of Floridians voting by mail and standing in lines to early vote -- shattering all-time records. But predictions that advance voting was to avoid in-person voting on Election Day were apparently true. While voting on Election Day was steady, it was far from record levels.
That said, more than 11 million Floridians did cast ballots for a 77% turnout -- the highest in the Sunshine State since 1992 when Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush’s effort to win a second term.
Just over 1.5 million more votes were cast in Florida in this election than four years ago.
The highest turnout this year was in Collier County, with 90.1%, and Sumter County, with 87.9%. Hardee County had the lowest turnout at 65.2%, while Hendry County was at 67.97%, according to the Division of Elections website.
General election turnout in Florida over the last 30 years
On Sunday, as two weeks of early voting ended, Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan predicted an 85-92% turnout. The final vote count fell well short of that: just below 75%.
While voting and vote counting went smoothly, Hogan said his long day ended with some disappointment.
“The surprise for me was the low turnout,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. “We had a great run-in early voting and then it just seemed like the wind came out of the sails today.”
Nearly 76% of Clay County voters cast ballots in the election -- 60% of that was before Election Day. While far short of the 88% turnout the county recorded in 1992, it was higher this year than in 2016.
Election Supervisor Chris Chambless said the only problem they experienced Tuesday was when a ballot got jammed inside a tabulator -- an issue that was quickly resolved.
“Early on we said there’s going to be long lines. Early on we said to make sure you prepare by knowing where your polling location is and that you utilize your sample ballot, and all of that happened," Chambless said. "Throughout the day, I think our longest line was 30 minutes at one or two times out in Oakleaf today and that’s it.”
St. Johns County
The turnout prize in Northeast Florida this year goes to St. Johns County, which had 70% turnout in advance voting before the polls opened Tuesday and ended the day with 84.6%.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.