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Florida Primary Election: More Absentee Voters But Low Overall Turnout Expected

Aug 26, 2014
Originally published on August 26, 2014 10:20 pm

Update, 10 p.m. 8/26/14:

With some precincts yet to report, Detzner says he believes more voters cast ballots early and absentee than on Election Day. However, the high percentage of voters taking advantage of alternative voting methods didn't contribute to high overall turnout. In fact, Detzner said he predicts fewer people participated in this midterm primary than in 2010, when 22 percent of registered voters cast ballots. 

Original post below:

Twenty-two percent. That's the benchmark voter turnout Florida's elections chief says we can expect for today's primary. Secretary of State Ken Detzner says although more people have been voting absentee since the election night snafus of 2012, overall turnout usually isn't high in non-presidential primaries.

As of 9:30 Tuesday morning, Detzner said voting was going smoothly. The only exception in the state’s 6,222 precincts was one Orange County poll worker who overslept and opened a few minutes late. (No voters were affected, Detzner says.)

And before polls opened Tuesday, he said 296,902 people had voted early and 856,378 voters had cast absentee ballots. He says he's heard sporadic reports from Lee and Orange counties of "dramatic" increases in absentee voting compared to previous elections. 

“I think the long lines of 2012 sent a message to people that it’s easy and convenient to call in and get your absentee ballot, so I think it’s worth noting that people are responding to that. Plus it’s just so convenient. I voted absentee," Detzner says. 

But despite that trend, Detzner says if the 2010 primary is an indication, voter turnout isn’t expected to be high. That year, just 22 percent of registered voters showed up. 

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