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Primary Day Arrives Amid Higher Early, Mail Voters


Voters in Florida go to the polls Tuesday for the state primary: that is, those who haven’t already taken advantage of casting ballots early or by mail.

Escambia County ended just shy of 9,000 early voters, 8,826 is the unofficial turnout figure for the early voting period, August 20-27. David Stafford, Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections, adds that figure is 103 percent over the 2014 primary, and up 32 percent over 2012.

“When you look at the combined early voting and vote-by-mail, basically all the votes cast thus far, we’re up 47 percent over 2014 and 44 percent over 2012,” said Stafford. “Obviously, the last important piece is who turns out to vote on Election Day.”

Vote-by-mail this time around totaled more than 18,000 in Escambia, about 10,000 more than early voting. No big surprise, says Stafford.

“We tend to see a big spike in early, in-person voting during presidential general elections,” Stafford says. “We’re starting to see that come into play in other elections as well, where you’re starting to see the combined early and absentee start to take a greater and greater share of the overall voter turnout.”

Elsewhere, turnout in Santa Rosa County is almost evenly split between mailed-in ballots and early voting. In Okaloosa, there were just over 9,600 early voters, compared to 8,700 using the Postal Service.

If you’re old school, didn’t have time to early vote or couldn’t make it to the mailbox, Escambia County’s David Stafford has some tips for voting at your precinct on Tuesday.

  • Make sure you’re in the right precinct;
  • Bring a photo and signature ID; there are now a dozen that are accepted.
  • Try to beat the crowd by avoiding the heaviest voting times: early morning, late afternoon, and early evening.

And this reminder: Florida is a closed primary state. Voters may only cast ballots for candidates in their party of registration -- unless there is a universal primary contest, a nonpartisan contest, or other issue on the ballot.
Once again, you can find more information at www.escambiavotes.com.