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Politics / Issues
What you need to know about the 2020 elections across the greater Tampa Bay region.

Pinellas Lagging Behind Other Counties In Early Voting

Early voting signs in Pinellas County
Mary Shedden
/
WUSF Public Media
Early voting signs in Pinellas County

Pinellas County has mailed out more early ballots than ever before for this election day. But its early voting numbers trailed other area counties — and it may be because it has only five such sites in the entire county.

The first week of early voting just ended, and the numbers are breaking records already. But one Tampa Bay county is lagging behind the others.

Through the first week of early voting, over 2 million people have voted early in Florida. That's on top of more than 3.7 million who have already voted by mail.

In Hillsborough County, 124,000 people have voted early. But in Pinellas County, less than 45,000 have.

The reason may be that Hillsborough has 26 sites open for early voting, while Pinellas has only five.

Even Pasco County, which has a little more than half the population of Pinellas, had more people voting early. It has nearly three times as many early voting sites.

It's not that there's a lack of interest in Pinellas. The county broke all previous election records by mailing out its most vote-by-mail ballots ever. Nearly 285,000 people have voted by mail so far in Pinellas - that's more than even Hillsborough, which has a larger population.

Pinellas is considered one of the key tossups in the crucial Interstate-4 corridor, which is likely to decide which way the state — and possibly the country — turns on election day.

Early Voting Sign
Mary Shedden
Early Voting sign in Pinellas County