As of Friday, February 26, 2016, the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections have tallied more than 579.6k absentee ballots. Of those, SOEs have flagged 4,700 as having a “voting error,” which means they’ll await final judgment of whether to be counted or “rejected as illegal” by a county’s three-member Canvassing Board. Another 3,336 absentee ballots have arrived at SOEs offices with no signature on the back of the absentee ballot envelope. Voters have until 5pm on Election Day to “cure” such ballots.
Now, for the party breakdown. Republicans have cast 303,673 recorded absentee ballots; 98.7% of them are valid, .81% have a voter error, and .49% lack a signature. Democrats have cast 261,441 recorded absentee ballots thus far; 98.6% are valid, .78% have a voter error, and .67% don’t have a signature. The voter error for the 12,355 NPAs who have mailed back their absentee ballots is nearly twice as high (1.35%) as those cast by Republican and Democrats, but of course, once counted, they won’t count towards a GOP or Democratic candidate, as independents (and third-party registrants) are excluded from Florida’s closed primary system.
As a percentage of the state’s nearly 12 million active voters, more than 7% of the state’s 4.23m active Republicans have cast ballots, and nearly 6% of the state’s 4.54m active Democrats have already voted for a presidential nominee.
Thus far, on the Republican side at least, it appears that quite a few Republicans who didn’t participate four years ago in the January 31, Presidential Preference Primary, won by Mitt Romney, are making sure their voices are being heard in 2016. Nearly 131k Republicans who skipped the 2012 PPP have already voted, which is nearly 44% of the total Republican votes cast thus far. These low propensity voters–who were registered as GOP 4 years ago but weren’t compelled to vote for other non-establishment candidates, such as Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul or Herman Cain, to name a few of the GOP contenders that year–may be a good sign for Donald Trump.