Florida voting has been on fire during the 2018 midterm elections. Over 4.1 million people have already cast their ballots, which is a significantly higher number of early voters than in the last midterm election, in 2014, when 3.1 million voters cast their ballots. What has caused this race to drive voters to the voting booths?
Democrats have been heading to Florida’s urban centers and casting absentee ballots. but Republicans were ahead by 60,000 ballots. That number might change dramatically after President Barack Obama’s and Oprah ‘s campaigning for Democratic candidates. Trump was scheduled for an appearance in Pensacola to support the Republican side of the ballots.
Roomie Hewan told WPTV, West Palm Beach, Florida’s NBC affiliate that he voted for the very first time. The reason he decided to vote early was that if there were long lines on Election Day, it would interfere with his work obligations:
‘Driving home from work today and I just decided it was going to be a lot better to get out here and early vote. It was pretty easy, everything went pretty smoothly compared to the amount of people out there, I thought it would take longer but it didn’t take that long actually.’
Then, there was Ray Agostini. He considered voting “an obligation”:
‘I have to, it’s an obligation, it’s a duty, it’s the right thing to do.’
Kristin, who did not want to give her last name, said her job interfered with voting on Election Day:
‘I’m going to be working on Tuesday so I’d like to go ahead and vote today.’
Concern about long lines at the polls have proven accurate. Even so, for those who had to wait over an hour to vote, the mood was pretty upbeat.
According to News-Press, key races include:
‘Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) running for re-election against two-term Republican Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D-FL) running against Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).’
It appears that Republican have thus far won over Democrats with 66,000 more absentee ballots. However, there were more Democrats at the polls than Republicans. As has been typical, the Democrats have been taking the larger urban centers. Republicans get the many small, rural counties.
What escapes the pundits are the independent voters or those without a party affiliation. These voters may have registered with offshoot parties. It appears that they have been coming out in record numbers for the 2018 midterm election, and they have been “leaning Democratic.” A surprising number of people skipped the 2016 presidential election, but they have been coming out for the midterms.
Usually, it has been the other way around. About one-third of the presidential voters skip the midterms. University of Florida political science professor and publisher of electionsmith.com, Dan Smith, agreed:
‘Political scientists know nothing about this type of voter.’
He said that he defined these voters as having “wallflower remorse.” Approximately 155,000 stayed at home during the presidential election. Yet, he suspected their motivation to go to the voting polls had little to do with why they did not come for the presidential election in 2016.
Among these voters, approximately 66,000 votes went Democratic and 50,000 went Republican.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.