TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Voting in the Nov. 6 general election has already surpassed the half-million mark.
Numbers posted Wednesday morning by the Florida Division of Elections show more than 554,000 people have cast vote-by-mail ballots.
Republicans have returned 247,000 ballots, while Democrats have turned in 207,000. Another 100,000 ballots were returned by unaffiliated voters and people registered with third parties.
The counties with the most vote-by-mail activity are Lee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Broward and Miami-Dade. The latest figures come as a number of Panhandle counties hit hard last week by Hurricane Michael remain unable to provide post-storm voting updates.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said there should still be plenty of time before the election for the affected counties to process ballots.
“This could have hit at a much worse time. This is still far enough out for us to have a good response, I believe, and get the infrastructure built back up at least to a level where people can be confident in vote-by-mail," said Earley.
Noting polling places may not be available and that some poll workers might not have returned to their homes following Michael, some supervisors of elections want the state to consider changes for the general election, from emailed vote-by-mail ballots to combining precincts.
Statewide, another 2.5 million vote-by-mail ballots have been requested, with just over one million still unreturned by Democrats and nearly 960,000 by Republicans.
Florida’s 13 million registered voters will also have the option of going to polling places for early voting, which runs statewide from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3, though county supervisors can add some extra days.