Archives for category: Absentee Ballots

Of the 1.1m Floridians who have cast vote-by-mail ballots that have been received by the state’s 67 SOEs through yesterday (Friday, 22 October 2016), nearly half (46%) did not vote an absentee ballot in the 2012 General Election.

In fact, of the 1.1m VBM cast thus far, 215.6k didn’t vote in the 2012 GE at all. So, one out of five VBMs received by SOEs are from voters who didn’t participate in the 2012 GE.

Of the new VBM voters, some 35k registered to vote in 2016, including 5,312 who’ve registered since September 1, 2016.

More Democrats than Republicans who’ve already cast a VBM either skipped or registered subsequent to the November 6, 2012 GE.  82.7k Democrats (18.7%) and 76.5k Republicans (16.5%) have not voted for president since at least 2008, if ever.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, though, the big surge in VBM in 2016 in Florida is with No Party Affiliates.  Nearly 51k of the 172.7k NPAs who have cast VBMs so far are voting for the first time (or at least since 2008).

So, who are these newbie NPAs who didn’t vote in 2012?

Nearly 18% are Hispanic, but that’s below the 22% of all NPAs in the voter file who are Hispanic (as of September 1, 2016).   Over 68% of the NPAs who’ve voted a VBM ballot but  who didn’t vote in 2012 are white, well above the 59% of all NPAs in the voter file who are white.

However, a greater percentage of VBM voters who didn’t vote in 2012  (compared to those who voted in 2012) are Hispanic and a smaller percentage are white.

So, lots of new voters are casting mail ballots for the first time. The demographics look pretty comparable to VBM voters who cast ballots by this mode in 2012.

Of course, lots of VBM (and early-in-person and Election Day) ballots to come…





Democrats holding their own with Republicans in vote-by-mail ballots received by SOEs as of close-of-business yesterday. Both well ahead of comparable 2012 days-before-election figures.

The big news, though, is the nearly 172k VBM cast by No Party Affiliates. That’s more than 2x as many cast by NPAs at this stage in 2012.


As of this morning, here’s the received mail ballots by party, with a daily comparison with 2012.  More here.


Not surprisingly, whites are far exceeding racial and ethnic minorities in the share of absentee ballots that have been returned as of this morning’s reporting period.

Of the 885.7k ballots received, 76.5% have been cast by white voters.  87% of the 369k Republicans who have voted are white; roughly 10% of Republican ballots have been cast by Hispanics and less than 1% by blacks.

Slightly more than 66% of the 357k Democrats who have voted are white.  So far, Hispanics have cast 17% of Democratic ballots and blacks another 12%.

Perhaps the biggest story is that women are far exceeding men in the vote-by-mail ballots that have so far been returned: 55% of all ballots have been cast by women and 44% by men, with the remainder cast by those whose gender is not reported.

Geographically, Miami-Dade leads the way, accounting for over 10% of all VBM cast. Another 9% come from Broward, and Palm Beach accounts for 7% of all VBM cast. The other top VBM counties are Hillsborough 6.5% Orange 6%; Pinellas another 5%; and Duval 4.6%.

My colleague, Mike McDonald, is mapping Florida VBMs by county in 2016 relative to the 2012 totals, here.



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.

Of the more-than 310k vote-by-mail ballots received (not yet tallied) by Florida’s 67 SOEs, ElectionSmith, Inc. has tallied voter file information about 99.7% of those who have already voted in the presidential election. By far–over 82% — of the VBM received have been cast by white voters. Another 7% have been cast by blacks, 6% by Hispanics, and the balance other racial/ethnic groups.

Women have cast roughly 165k of the 310k VBM, accounting for roughly 53.2% of the VBM cast. That’s only slightly more than the 52.8% of women who make up active voters in the state.

Those under the age of 30–many of whom have never licked a postage stamp– have cast only 3.7% of all VBM thus far, well below the 17% of the 12.46m active voters in Florida. On the other hand, registered voters 61 and over have cast 66.6% of the VBM, nearly double the 34.3% of active voters of that age who are registered to vote.

Not surprisingly, Baby-boomers and the Greatest Generation sure do like their vote-by-mail in Florida!

Of the roughly 206k voters 61 and over who have cast VBM thus far, 87% are white. What is surprising, however, is of these 179k older white voters who’ve cast VBM thus far,  less than half (47%) are Republicans, which is less than the share of older white Republicans in the September 2016, from which these data are drawn.

Again, it’s way too early to divine too much from these VBM, not only for overall turnout or support for Trump or Clinton, but also for overall VBM figures.

To be sure, these earliest of early VBM voters are likely strongest of strong partisans, unlikely to be moved by any 11th hour revelations in the presidential campaign.

I expect there to be upwards of 3m VBM cast in Florida, so there’s still a long way to go!

Well, judging by Vote-by-Mail ballots received by county Supervisors of Elections, it certainly looks like there’s going to be strong voter turnout in Florida this presidential election.

As of this morning, Democrats have returned nearly 125k vote-by-mail ballots, only 6,000 ballots less than Republicans, who have owned absentee ballots in the Sunshine State since the state adopted the no-excuse mode of voting.

Election Day in 2012 was November 6; this year, it’s November 8.  As such, if we compare October 11, 2012 absentee ballots received with October 13, 2016 vote-by-mail absentee ballots received, Republicans are up only 34.7k from 2012; Democrats are up 36.3k ballots compared to October 11, 2012 returns. Also notable is that over 8k more ballots from No Party Affiliates (NPAs) have been received by the 67 county SOEs than over the same time-frame in 1012.

Still way too early to draw too many conclusions — most notably because it’s possible that Democrats who are voting by mail this year may have been voting early in-person or on Election Day in 2012, and are merely substituting one mode of voting for another.

But I’ll have that analysis in the coming days…


Re-upping these classics from the 2012 General Election:

Where you live matters

High ballot rejection rates should worry Florida voters





I’ve been puzzling over a story by Adam Smith in the Tampa Bay Times that ran a couple of days ago. According to analysis done by the Florida Chamber of Commerce‘s “data people,” over on-quarter of all the Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots (née, Absentee Ballots) cast as of last Thursday were done so by voters who had never voted in any of the last four primary elections (which, I assume, they mean the primaries in August 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014).

These figures struck me as odd, if not implausible.

So I ran the numbers.  My figures are a little more recent than the Chamber’s, as I’m analyzing VBMs received by SOEs through yesterday (Saturday, August 27).

As of yesterday, some 1.11m VBM had been received by the state’s 67 SOEs.

Of those 1.11m, SOEs have received 13.2k VBM ballots cast by voters who’ve registered since January 1 of this year; they received another 20.5k cast by voters who registered in 2015.

These new voters had no chance of casting ballots in the 2014 August primary election, and thus, there’s no reason why they should be included in the Chamber’s analysis, much less be assumed to be “unlikely voters.”

Indeed, over 13k of the 20.5k who registered in 2015 and who’ve voted VBM this August primary had voted in the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary earlier this year.  Although they’ve recently registered, I’d be hard-pressed to classify these presidential primary voters as “unlikely voters” this general primary election.

Furthermore, of the 1.11m VBM received so far, 635.9k have been cast by voters who voted in the 2014 August primary. That’s 57.3% of the total, and that’s not even excluding from any analysis the more than 33.7k who’ve already voted VBM who couldn’t have cast ballots two years ago because they weren’t registered. Take them out of the equation, and nearly 60% of the VBMs cast so far in this primary were cast by those who were eligible to vote in the 2014 August primary).

By my count, some 286.8k VBM ballots received by SOEs thus far have been cast by voters who skipped the previous four August primaries. Perhaps the Chamber’s “data people” were on to something. This does seem like a pretty high figure at first glance.

But upon closer inspection, of these VBM August 2016 primary voters, less than half — some 131.1k — were actually registered on the books back in January, 2008, and thus eligible to partake in all four of the August primaries underpinning the Chamber’s analysis. Thus, these are the truly “unlikely voters.” But they account for only 12% of the VBMs cast thus far in this primary election, and not “more than a quarter” of all VBMs, as Adam Smith reports.

Contrary to the Chamber’s analysis, then, three-fifths of the VBM ballots received by SOEs thus far have been cast by VERY regular primary voters, not “‘new’ primary voters.”


Floridians wanting to participate in the March 15, 2016 presidential preference primary had until February 16 to either register to vote or change their party registration to Democrat or Republican in order to vote in either closed primary.

Between February 1 and February 16, more than 36k Floridians became newly registered voters during the final run-up to the registration deadline. Roughly one-third of them cast ballots prior to Election Day.  Some 5.4k newly registered Democratic voted (3.4k cast early in-person ballots and 2.0k mailed in their absentee ballots), and 6.1k newly registered Republicans voted (3.7k early in-person and 2.4k absentee ballots).  A smattering of newly registered NPAs and 3rd party registrants also voted before Election Day.

We won’t know until next month if the 24k other newly registered voters waited to cast ballots on Election Day.  We’ll never know (because the state of Florida doesn’t track this) if those who voted, or those who waited until Election Day or didn’t vote at all, opted-in to register at DMV offices or other state or federal agencies that are required to ask voters if they’d like to register. My Ph.D. graduate student, Lia Merivaki, is looking into questions like these in her dissertation. It will be interesting to see if the ongoing implementation of online voter registration across many states (and in Florida, in 2017), or automatic registration (which is already in effect in Oregon and will be in California), will lead to these new registrants voting, or deciding not to exercise their franchise.

If it’s the later, turnout rates will likely take a tip dip due to an inflated denominator of registered voters who didn’t opt when applying for their driver’s license or other services.