Deadline approaches to qualify to vote in primary elections
Floridians who want to vote in the Aug. 23 primary elections need to make sure they are registered by a Monday deadline.
But it appears clear that after the deadline, the number of registered Republicans will top Democrats. To the glee of Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans, members of the GOP began outnumbering Democrats months ago, after Democrats traditionally had a registration edge in the state.
As of June 30, Florida had 5,157,343 registered Republicans and 4,955,022 registered Democrats, according to the state Division of Elections. Another 3,887,406 people were registered without party affiliations, and 256,413 were signed up for third parties.
Rhodes Cook, a senior columnist for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, wrote Thursday that changes in registration totals in Florida and a number of other states have brought registration more in line with actual voting.
“Many political observers abhor (former President Donald) Trump’s high-voltage, sharp-edged brand of politics. But his energy and bite now runs through the Republican Party and has arguably been a factor in the GOP’s recent registration surge,” Cook wrote. “Yet Trump is not the only reason this is happening. For a generation, there has been a steady stream of Southern white Democrats converting to the Republican Party. And it is a fact of life that numerous other ‘yellow dog’ Democrats have been dying off, leaving states across the region increasingly dependent on Black voters for their viability.”
When Trump was elected in 2016, Democrats held registration advantages in 30 of Florida’s 67 counties. Democrats were up in just 15 this spring.
“Over the last six years, Republicans flipped a number of counties in rural Florida, especially in the northern part of the state near Alabama and Georgia. But the GOP also gained the registration lead in several rather populous counties in Central Florida, such as Pinellas (St. Petersburg), Polk (Lakeland), and Volusia (Daytona Beach). In addition, Republicans trimmed the Democratic registration advantage in heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County, from 220,000 in 2016 to less than 155,000 this spring,” Cook wrote.
But Cook gave Florida Democrats some good news.
“Since 2016, they have expanded their registration lead in Orange County (Orlando) and Duval County (Jacksonville),” Cook continued. “Still, that has not been good enough to keep pace with the Republicans, as Florida Democrats find themselves in the unusual position of playing catch up in the statewide registration battle.”