October 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm
About 1.9 million Floridians have already cast ballots, according to numbers made available by the Department of State. Of the 1,865,896 people in Florida that voted through Sunday by absentee ballot and early voting, Democrats accounted for 784,444 votes and Republicans accounted for 774,304. More than 307,000 ballots have been cast by voters who don’t belong to either major party.
The Obama campaign is urging supporters to cast ballots during the eight-day window set aside for early voting, rather than wait until Election Day on Nov. 6. On Monday, Obama’s Florida campaign launched “29 for 29,” an initiative to organize communities and encourage supporters to vote early,
On Sunday, Black churches in Florida cities took part in “Souls to the Polls,” marches, leading parishioners from Sunday services to polling places. The get-out-the-vote effort on the second day of statewide early voting was sponsored by several churches and local NAACP chapters.
Florida’s new election law, passed by a Republican-led Legislature in 2011, cut the early voting period from 14 days to eight, eliminating early voting on the Sunday before the election– a traditional time for black congregations to vote.
Democrats say their record 1.09 million absentee ballot requests — compared to the GOP’s 1.13 million– is much more favorable than 2008, when the Republicans, at this time, had a 10 percent advantage in requested ballots.
Obama’s campaign is also touting early voting numbers, noting that in Palm Beach County on Saturday alone, 15,813 residents cast ballots. In 2008, on the first day of Early Voting, 7,300 people in Palm Beach County voted early. Of the 15,813 people who voted early in Palm Beach County on Saturday, Democrats accounted for 9,579 and Republicans accounted for 3,415.
Meanwhile, the RNC pointed out that early voter turnout is up in several GOP strongholds, including Florida’s panhandle, Indian River County and Martin County, while turnout in Democratic areas, such as Miami-Dade, was down.