More than 5.2 million people had already cast ballots in Florida, a dramatic increase over 2014, and turnout was high in key counties throughout the state as Florida went to the midterm election polls on November 6, 2018.
The early voting numbers were way up over 2014, when 3.1 million people cast early ballots in Florida. Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida, tracks early voting turnout, and his chart indicates the numbers are not only way over 2014 in Florida but also in many other states. You can see his chart here. He told Politico, “This is not a normal election. The best guess is that we’re looking at some sort of hybrid midterm/presidential election” turnout-wise throughout the country.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Florida was headed for record turnout for a midterm election. There are two hotly contested races on the battle: Andrew Gillum vs. Ron DeSantis for Florida governor, and Rick Scott vs. Bill Nelson for the U.S. Senate. The midterms are widely regarded as a referendum on President Donald Trump and a potential canary in the mine for 2020.
Florida recorded an 111-percent increase over the 2014 midterms in young voters casting early votes whereas the share of older voters casting early ballots dropped. Although it’s risky to assume which party gains from turnout and early voting increases, Politico noted that many pollsters bake turnout assumptions into their polls. The polls have been tight in the governor’s and Senate races. Of course, it’s possible that more people are just choosing to vote early but the turnout increases will decline somewhat once everyone has gone to the polls. Time will tell.
Early voting totals are posted by the Florida Secretary of State’s office. You can also see county-by-county breakdowns here.
2018 General Election Early Voting Statistics for Florida
Election Date – 11/06/2018
No Party Affiliation 467,055
No Party Affiliation: 506,249
Vote-by-Mail Provided (Not Yet Returned)
No Party Affiliation: 248,010
Democrats had a slight edge in early voting numbers. Republicans had cast 2,089,664 early ballots in Florida as of election day on November 6, 2018. Democrats had cast 2,112,416 early votes in Florida. Altogether, more than 5.2 million ballots were cast early in Florida, counting unaffiliated voters and other parties. That’s as of 10 a.m. By 7 a.m., turnout in Florida had already represented 38.4 percent of the overall electorate.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, the early voting surged in Democratic areas like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. People could only early vote through Sunday evening. Some areas, such as Palm Beach, were recording much higher early voting turnout when compared to the 2014 midterms.
On election day, elections officials were reporting heavy turnout as well in Palm Beach and Broward, where Democrats need to post big numbers. Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County supervisor of elections, told the Sun-Sentinel at midday: “Turnout is heavy. We haven’t seen it like this in a while.”
Some areas of central Florida – such as Orange County – were also posting higher turnout than the midterms, in part because of early voting tallies. “By 1 p.m., just over 50 percent of Orange County registered voters had already cast a ballot, surpassing the 44 percent that voted in the 2014 midterm election,” reported The Orlando Sentinel on election day. Osceola and Seminole counties were among those expected to break 2014 turnout figures, The Sentinel reported.
There are about 13.2 million voters in Florida.
Here’s where you can get the live election results as they are reported by the Florida Secretary of State’s office once the polls close.