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Florida now at 2.2M vote-by-mail ballot requests

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The number of vote-by-mail ballots requested by voters from Florida elections supervisors now has topped 2.2 million, according to the state’s Division of Elections.

The tally, as of Thursday morning, is for the Aug. 30 primary. That number includes ballots mailed to service members and others outside the country.

Of those, Republicans make up 988,030 of the ballot requests, with Democrats at 834,267, and third-party and no-party registered voters at 392,331.

County elections supervisors started mailing ballots on July 26. Lawmakers recently changed the name of such ballots to “vote-by-mail” ballots from the traditional “absentee” ballots.

Pinellas County still leads Florida’s 67 counties with 249,481 ballots requested, the division reported. Miami-Dade is in second place with 218,261.

Of the 2.2 million ballots, 2,430 already have been voted and returned, with Republicans leading Democrats 1,364 to 632. Another 434 were from third-party and no-party registered voters, the division’s records show.

Historically, Florida Republicans have had an advantage with vote-by-mail ballots, while the Democrats were stronger with early voting.

The increasing popularity of mail ballots, as well as early voting, means a majority of votes could be cast before Election Day.

That phenomenon has forced candidates and their campaigns to adjust their strategies, including advertising, to accommodate the evolving voting pattern.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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