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The State We're In connects with people in Central Florida and the greater Tampa Bay region about issues that matter to you. From the coronavirus to special coverage of politics along the I-4 corridor, it’s a chance to hear your neighbors, and better understand their experience.The State We’re In is a collaboration of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and 90.7 WMFE in Orlando and is part of America Amplified, a national community engagement and reporting initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[Join Us On Facebook]

Florida Mail-In Ballots Cast Approach 600,000

stack of mail-in ballots
WUSF Public Media

Another 4.78 million ballots have been mailed out across Florida, but had not been returned to local elections offices as of Monday.

More than 571,000 Floridians have already cast ballots for the November election on the final day residents could register to vote.

As of Monday morning, 571,718 vote-by-mail ballots had been cast, with 306,037 from Democrats and 157,924 from Republicans. Another 101,164 had been cast by voters without party affiliation and 6,593 had come from voters registered with minor parties.

Another 4.78 million ballots were mailed out but had not been returned, with more than 2.1 million going to Democrats and more than 1.5 million going to Republicans.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said the number of people voting by mail this year has dramatically increased, given uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Earley will start tabulating vote-by-mail ballots this week, and he thinks election officials should be able to keep up with the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.

“There is an increased volume of vote-by-mail,” he said. “There will probably be more ballots than normal that need to be tabulated the last few days of the week after Election Day. But I feel very confident that we’ll be able to get that done here in Florida.”

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus said 53% of the voters in her county have requested mail-in ballots. She said she is hoping to get between an 80 and 90 % return rate on the ballots.

Elections offices can start processing the mail-in ballots starting in mid-October, but voters need to know the absolute drop-dead deadline for elections offices to receive a ballot is 7 p.m. on November 3.

“Please give it at least one week prior to the election if you're going to return it by mail, or you can drop it off at a valid drop-off location,” Marcus said.

Heading into the August primary elections, of the 13.89 million registered voters in Florida, nearly 5.17 million listed themselves as Democrats and almost 4.83 million as Republicans. Another 3.62 million registered with no party affiliation.