Archives for category: Absentee Ballots

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.

As of this morning, some 1.269m absentee ballots have been counted in the Florida election. The number will continue to trickle up in the coming days as county canvassing boards examine the overseas mail ballots coming in over the next week.

Republicans cast 719.1k absentee ballots. Thus far, .56% of them were rejected by canvassing boards due to voter error (likely a mismatched or invalid signature); another .27% were rejected because they lacked an accompanying signature on the return envelope.  So, nearly 99.2% of GOP absentee ballots were valid.

On the Democratic side, nearly 524.8k were received by county SOEs. Slightly less than 99% were processed as valid (98.97%, to be exact). Of the rejected Democratic mail ballots, .61% had a voter error and .42% lacked a signature on the envelope.

Only 21.7k NPAs cast ballots, and roughly 10k more by 3rd party registrants.

More analysis, as time permits, on the partisan/racial/ethnic/age breakdown of absentee ballots as time permits…

When precincts opened their doors this morning at 7am, more than 2.09m Floridians had already cast their ballots.

Nearly 1.17m out of the 4.56m active and inactive registered Republicans in the state had cast early in-person or absentee ballots ahead of Election Day, or 25.6% of all registered Republicans.

Nearly 865k out of the 5.04m active and inactive registered Democrats in the state had cast early in-person or absentee ballots ahead of Election Day, or 17.2% of all registered Democrats.

An additional 52.8k NPAs and 3rd party registrants cast ballots (but not for the GOP or Democratic nominees), as did another 3.6k (out of the 28.9k) who registered to vote between February 1 and February 16, the last day to register to vote in the presidential preference primary election.

Older voters in both parties came out in force.  739.3k (63%) of all Republican ballots cast prior to Election Day were cast by voters 60 and older. 514.5k (59%) of all Democratic ballots cast prior to Election Day were cast by voters 60 and older.Only 50.3k Republican and 59.8k Democrats under the age of 30 voted during the early voting period or by absentee ballot.

Sliced differently, only 8.7% of all registered Republicans under 30 and only 7% of all registered Democrats under 30 have voted prior to Election Day, whereas nearly 40% of all registered Republicans over 60 and 29% of all registered Democrats over 60 cast ballots ahead of today, March 15, 2016.

What about the partisan breakdown along racial/ethnic lines?

Slightly more than 1m white Republicans have cast ballots, nearly ten times the 119.5k Hispanic Republicans who voted early in-person and absentee.

Among Democratic early and absentee voters, 547k are white,86.9k are Hispanic, and 191.5k are black.





As of this morning, which accounts for all early in-person ballots cast through the final day (Sunday, March 13) of early voting as well as all absentee ballots processed by the state’s 67 SOEs this morning, over 2 million votes have been cast ahead of Florida’s 2016 presidential preference primaries.  Roughly 2.038m, to be more precise.

Over 1.136m Republicans have voted, including 657.1k absentee ballots and 479.2k early in-person voters.

Nearly 846.8k Democrats have voted, including 481.1k absentee ballots and 365.7k early in-person voters..

Not surprisingly, Florida’s electorate is old. Over 61.5% of the total votes cast have been by voters over the age of 60.  Less than 6% of the total votes cast (GOP, Dem, and NPA/3rd parties) have cast by voters under the age of 30.

White Republicans over the age of 60 still dominate the GOP presidential primary electorate: over 635k white Republicans have cast ballots, or nearly 65% of the total Republican ballots cast thus far. Hispanics registered as Republicans have cast a total of 117.3k ballots, or roughly 10% of the total Republican votes cast.

On the Democratic side, older white voters also make up a majority of those who have voted in advance of tomorrow’s election. White Democrats have cast 535.9k ballots, or 63% of all Democratic ballots cast thus far.  Of those 535.9k ballots cast by white Democrats, nearly 67% have been cast by voters over the age of 60.  Hispanics registered as Democrats have cast 85.3k ballots (10%), and blacks registered as Democrats have cast nearly 187.0k ballots (22%).

Be very weary of pollsters who haven’t been weighting their early votes (early in-person and absentee) by these figures. They might be heavily #Skewed.

More than 1.12m Floridians have cast valid absentee mail ballots, including 462.5k Democrats and 626.8k Republicans.

But more than 607k absentee ballots mailed out by the 67 county SOEs to Democratic and Republican voters have yet to be returned by voters.

As of yesterday morning, there were nearly 300k Republican absentee ballots that need to reach SOE offices by close of business on Tuesday, and over 308k Democratic absentee ballots that had yet to arrive at SOE offices.

Here’s the number of absentee ballots provided, by not returned, by county, to date:

Absentee Ballots Provided, Not Returned
County Republican Democrat
ALA 2,530 3,393
BAK 210 221
BAY 2,655 1,712
BRA 288 370
BRE 14,157 10,531
BRO 16,491 31,632
CAL 74 218
CHA 3,250 2,368
CIT 2,668 2,016
CLA 3,299 1,161
CLL 6,911 2,619
CLM 593 646
DAD 25,354 33,115
DES 191 230
DIX 153 296
DUV 12,979 11,089
ESC 5,424 3,094
FLA 1,286 955
FRA 144 296
GAD 194 1,194
GIL 240 225
GLA 75 49
GUL 143 158
HAM 105 252
HAR 88 72
HEN 188 247
HER 2,913 3,142
HIG 1,287 847
HIL 20,402 22,104
HOL 247 274
IND 3,493 1,638
JAC 372 687
JEF 118 367
LAF 39 111
LAK 4,672 2,907
LEE 14,842 8,609
LEO 2,760 4,111
LEV 799 516
LIB 16 100
MAD 83 208
MAN 8,140 4,798
MON 1,847 1,570
MRN 4,227 2,329
MRT 4,036 2,096
NAS 1,466 716
OKA 4,160 1,126
OKE 266 239
ORA 15,493 30,910
OSC 3,420 6,157
PAL 13,872 20,319
PAS 6,405 6,285
PIN 35,143 36,545
POL 8,947 8,804
PUT 669 935
SAN 3,175 1,114
SAR 7,902 4,876
SEM 8,164 7,144
STJ 3,706 1,552
STL 3,365 4,657
SUM 1,996 968
SUW 488 715
TAY 184 479
UNI 113 141
VOL 8,808 8,597
WAK 268 452
WAL 918 298
WAS 402 447
Total 299,313 308,049

Writing a story and interested in the partisan and racial/ethnic breakdowns of the un-returned absentee ballots for a particular county? Feel free to contact me directly.


As of this morning, 59.3k Miami-Dade Republicans have had their absentee ballots counted by the SOE. That’s out of 87.9k GOP absentee ballots sent out to registered voters beginning in earnest in late January.  So, 67.5% of all absentee ballots are already in the hopper, ready to be counted on Election Day.

More than 450 absentee envelope mailed in by Miami-Dade Republicans don’t have the voter’s signature; another 500+ have some form of voter error, and the canvasing board will take a look at them to determine if they’re valid or should be rejected.

The most important number, and the one that Donald Trump is likely referencing, is the 25.6k absentee ballots of registered Republicans that have yet to be sent in as of this morning’s figures. Certainly, there’s a history of absentee ballot fraud in Miami-Dade, as @MarcACaputo @PatriciaMazzei know well.

As of Friday morning, nearly 700k Democrats had cast ballots ahead of Florida’s PPP.  Roughly 18% of white Democrats have already voted; less than 10% of registered black and Hispanic Democrats have cast ballots.

On the Republican side of the ledger, over 934k have cast ballots. More than 1/5 registered white Republicans have voted; Hispanic Republicans are also voting in sizable numbers, with 18.5% of those registered having cast ballots.

Another 4.2k voters who registered in the final two weeks before the February 16 registration cutoff have voted, but we won’t know their party registration or race/ethnicity until a later time.

Are #Millennials voting? So far, no sign of them. They have until Sunday in 9 counties to vote early in-person or until Election Day to get their absentee ballots in, or, of course, turn out to their designated precincts on March 15.

Fewer than 5% of Democrats who are under 30 (as of February 1, 2016) have voted. Less than 3% of the more than 326k black Democrats under the age of 30 have voted; a slightly higher percentage of the 170k under 30 Hispanic Democrats have voted, some 4.7%. Nearly 25% of registered Democrats 60 and over have voted, with older black and white Democrats leading the way.

On the Republican side, over 34% of white Republicans 60 and up have already voted. Older Hispanic Republicans are right behind, with 31% of those registered having voted. Fewer than 6% of Republicans under the age of 30 have voted, with younger Hispanic Republicans outpacing younger white Republicans.  #NeverTrump voters, perhaps? If so, it’s less than 5k votes, hardly a counter-punch to rapidly approaching million votes cast by Republicans to date.


or, better yet, Floridians, just forget about the ballot-brokers and mail in your absentee ballots.

As of this morning, more than 685k absentee ballots have yet to be returned to the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections.
Roughly 328k Republican and 326k Democratic absentee ballots are presumably sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be filled out and sent on their merry way.
Which counties should the campaigns be chasing absentees?
Pinellas, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Hillsborough, and Palm Beach account for half of all the outstanding absentee ballots, with similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats.
Expect to see more rallies by the candidates in the coming days in these ballot-rich counties, not just to mobilize voters to the polls during in-person early voting and on Election Day, but to round up the more than half a million absentee ballots out on the lam.

It’s Friday, March 11, 2016.

As of this morning, nearly 1.68m Floridians have cast ballots, including 1.09m absentee ballots and 588.6k early in-person ballots.

There are only 1 1/2 days of early in-person voting left for voters in 58 of the state’s 67 counties. The nine other counties will have eight hours of early voting on Sunday, March 13. After that, voters can cast their ballots on Election Day from 7am-7pm, or get their absentee ballots to their Supervisor of Elections by 7pm on that Tuesday, March 15.

As of this morning, Republicans have cast nearly 610k absentee ballots and 327k early in-person ballots. For their part, Democrats have cast over 456.5k absentee ballots and 244k early in-person ballots.

Here’s a tidbit of strategic voting going on… Some 6,000+ voters who cast requested and voted absentee ballots in the GOP presidential primary switched their party registration to Republican during the first 16 days of February. Most of them were NPAs, but a good chunk were Democrats.  Among those Democrats who cast absentee ballots, more than 3,000 switched their registration to the Democratic party immediately before the registration deadline, including over 2,ooo NPAs and more than a few Republicans.  I’m writing on this subject, so visit again in a couple of years when I finally post an academic paper on the topic of party switching!

For now, if you want the racial/ethnic and age demographics by party of those who have already voted early in-person or by absentee ballot, as well as the percentages of Republicans who skipped the 2012 PPP but who are voting this round, take a look at my previous (and now somewhat dated) posts.  Sorry, but I’m no longer posting these breakdowns publicly, as too many of you have been using them without citing my efforts. But I’m happy to continue to make them available to those of you who work them into your stories. Just DM me on Twitter.