As of this morning (March 9, 2016), over 1.41 million Floridians (out of the 13.2m registered) have cast ballots in the 2016 presidential primaries, with 994.9k voting absentee mail ballots and 417.1k voting early in-person.
Thus far, 772.8m Republicans and 598.8k Democrats have voted in advance of the March 15 election. That’s nearly 17% of registered Republicans (active and inactive) and 11.9% of registered Democrats (active and inactive) as of February 1, 2016. Roughly seven out of 10 Republicans and Democrats who have voted have cast absentee ballots, with 30% voting in-person. In addition, some 1.7k absentee voters and another 2.9k early in-person have voted, but registered between February 1 and February 16, 2016, the last day to register to vote in the PPP election.
Thus far, Republican absentee and in-person voters look remarkably similar along racial/ethnic lines. Of the 543.3k Republicans who have voted absentee ballots, 86% are white and slightly less than 11% are Hispanic. Of the 229.5k Republicans who have voted early in-person ballots, 87% are white and slightly less than 10% are Hispanic.
Of the 423.6k Democrats who have voted absentee ballots, 70% are white, roughly 17% are black, and less than 10% are Hispanic. Of the 175.3k Democrats who have voted early in-person ballots, 59% are white, 26% are black, and slightly more than 10% are Hispanic.
In terms of turnout, nearly 17% of registered Republicans have voted to date: 17.5% of white Republicans and nearly 16% of Hispanic Republicans have voted thus far.
Slightly less than 12% of registered Democrats have voted. Among Democrats, 15.6% of white Democrats, 8.2% of black Democrats, and nearly 8% of Hispanic Democrats have voted to date.
The overall turnout rate in the state is 10.7%. The reason it is so much lower than the Republican and Democratic turnout, of course, is because NPAs are shut out from voting in either the Democratic or Republican PPPs. And it shows: less than 1% of of the state’s 3.25m registered NPAs have voted in this election.
Finally, it needs to be noted (once again), that #Millennials are not turning out thus far. Only 2.6% of voters under the age of 30 have voted; in contrast 20.5% of the state’s voters over the age of 60 have voted.
By party, 4.6% of the 578.0k Republicans under 30 years have voted; 3.7% of the 847.5k Democrats under 30 years old have voted.
In contrast, 28% of the 1.86m registered Republicans over 60 have voted and 21.7% of the 1.80m registered Democrats over 60 have voted.
As I’ve written before, at this point, it’s hard to see how #Millennials are going to decide either the Republican or Democratic presidential primaries in Florida. Too many millennials — some 819k — are registered as NPAs and as thus have no voice.
Early voting is underway in the runoff election for Mayor of the City of Jacksonville. According to a report by the Florida Times Union, only 4,275 ballots were cast on Monday (yesterday), the first day of early voting, in the 18 early voting sites located across Duval County.
In the 2011 mayoral runoff election, strong turnout by African Americans during the two weeks of early voting helped to tip the scales for Alvin Brown who won his first term as Jacksonville’s mayor.
African Americans in Duval County — even more so than the rest of Florida — have become habituated to vote early. Facing an array of obstacles limiting their ability to cast a vote on a Tuesday—the traditional election day even in municipal elections—or remaining dubious about having their absentee ballots count, thousands of African Americans in Jacksonville have taken advantage of the convenience of voting early, which was enacted by a Republican legislature and signed into law in 2004 by Governor Jeb Bush. In the 2011 Jacksonville municipal election, black voters in Duval County were especially likely to vote on the final Sunday before Election Day, taking their Souls to the Polls.
In 2011, African Americans made up roughly 28% of the registered voters in Duval County (about the same today), with white registered voters comprising about 62% of the county’s voter rolls (today, whites make up about 60% of the county’s electorate). Jacksonville African Americans, however, were disproportionately more likely to go early to the polls to vote in the 2011 municipal election when compared to other racial or ethnic groups.
Figure 1, below, plots the daily composition (that is, the fraction of early voters on each day that is of a particular race/ethnicity) of the early voting electorate in the 2011 Jacksonville mayoral contest. It reveals that African Americans relied much more heavily on early voting, Of the approximately 38,000 registered voters in Duval County who voted early over the two-week early voting period prior to Election Day (May 17, 2011), African Americans cast roughly 34% of the early votes, even though they comprised just 28% of the electorate.
Figure 1: Racial and Ethnic Composition (Percentage) of Early Voters in Duval County, May 2011 Mayoral Runoff Election
What is most notable from Figure 1 is the huge spike in early votes by African Americans on the final day of early voting, Sunday, May 15, 2011. In fact, on that final Sunday of early voting, even though they comprised less than a third of registered voters, more African Americans came to the polls to vote in the Jacksonville runoff election than did whites.
Early voting has just started; it runs through May 17. I suspect we’ll see a surge of early voters — especially African Americans — in the days to come, especially the final Sunday of early voting, Sunday May 17, 2015.
Details about where and when early voting is available can be found on the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website.
Very nice to hear today that Michael Herron and my 2012 APSA paper, “Getting Your Souls to the Polls: The Racial Impact of Reducing Early In-Person Voting in Florida,” was unanimously selected as the Best Paper Award for the State Politics & Policy Section of the American Political Science Association.
The paper was subsequently published in Election Law Journal, and is available here.
In our paper, available here, we examine the long lines in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties which stretched from Saturday, November 3, into the final Sunday before the election of early voting in Florida. Not surprising, African Americans were disproportionately more likely to be negatively affected.
Here’s the key table and figure (pages 13-14):