Through yesterday, October 19, Republicans had returned 12,832 more vote-by-mail ballots than Democrats.
However, as of this time four years ago–that is, 20 days prior to the November 6, 2012 General Election–Republicans led Democrats by more than 28,400 absentee ballot returns. Democrats have closed the absentee ballot gap in Florida.
In 2012, at this moment, Republicans accounted for nearly 45% of all absentee ballots cast; as of yesterday, in the 2016 election, that percentage was less than 42%.
But the reason that Democrats are closing the gap is due in large part to the share of vote-by-mail ballots being cast by No Party Affiliates in 2016: as of yesterday, 68,000 more NPAs have had their vote-by-mail ballots received by local SOEs as compared to October 17, 2012.
Of course, what we might be witnessing is a shift in the mode by which voters cast their ballots, something that I’ve written extensively about with Dr. Michael Herron.