TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Nearly 1.2 million Floridians have already voted in the Nov. 3 elections. As of Thursday morning, 1.178 million vote-by-mail ballots had been turned in to county elections offices, according to statistics posted online by the Florida Division of Elections.
Democrats had mailed in 612,982 ballots, while Republicans had submitted 337,927. Unaffiliated voters had turned in 213,870 ballots, while members of third parties had mailed in 13,253.
While President Donald Trump has repeatedly raised concerns about voting by mail in other states, Gov. Ron DeSantis this week expressed optimism that the majority of mail-in ballots in Florida will be tabulated without causing a delay in results.
“Fortunately, in Florida, we're allowed to process the ballots as they come in, once the window starts,” DeSantis said during an appearance Tuesday in The Villages. “Some of these states, they're not allowed to even start that until the polls close. Well, that's going to take forever to be able to count that. If we had to wait, man, we'd have millions of ballots that would just be sitting there.”
DeSantis added that the only mail-in-ballots that won’t be verified and counted before polls close are those submitted late on Election Day.
“I think that that will make it much smoother,” DeSantis continued. “So, you people should have confidence sending the ballot back. We're not just sending out ballots to everybody under the sun. We're not sending them to dead people.”
Besides the ballots already returned, another 4.34 million vote-by-mail ballots have been sent out, with nearly 1.9 million going to Democrats and about 1.4 million going to Republicans.
The next phase of the state’s election process, early voting, begins in many counties on Oct. 19.