Florida vote-by-mail: Pasco, Sarasota, Volusia top counties for ballot returns, so far

More than 160,000 Floridians have already voted by mail ahead of the Aug. 23 primary elections

As of Tuesday morning, 160,587 vote-by-mail ballots had been cast, with the largest numbers in Volusia, Pasco and Sarasota counties, according to the state Division of Elections website. 

More than 4 million vote-by-mail ballots have been requested for the primary elections. 

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That compares to about 2.6 million requested during the 2018 primaries. 

The COVID-19 pandemic helped lead to a record number of residents voting by mail in 2020. 

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Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said many people now see the option as more convenient than waiting to vote in person. 

"The request level is a bit above the norm," Earley said. "You can actually continue to request vote-by-mail ballots up until 10 days out from the election, so that’s Aug. 13. So, I am sure we will get further requests for vote-by-mail in the coming weeks." 

In-person early voting will begin in 20 counties on Aug. 8 and will be available in all counties by Aug. 13.