As part of a continuing partnership, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and the Miami Herald analyzed data for more than 4.5 million absentee and early voters in Florida. These absentee and early voters represented 38 percent of Florida’s 12 million registered voters.
About 2.1 million absentee ballots were cast statewide — in addition to 2.4 million in-person early votes. The numbers show that, when it comes to voting, Florida has racial divisions that play to each campaign’s strengths, according to an analysis of preliminary voter data conducted by The Miami Herald and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting:
African-American voters: Accounting for less than 14 percent of the electorate, they prefer to vote in person rather than by mail.
Black voters have cast more than a quarter of the state’s early votes, but only about 9 percent of absentee ballots. About 90 percent of the African-American ballots are from Democrats.
Hispanic voters: More than 14 percent of the electorate, Hispanic voters appear to still prefer to vote on Election Day.
Hispanics cast about 12 percent of in-person early votes, with Democrats far outnumbering Republicans. The Democrats’ strength: Central Florida, home to liberal-leaning Puerto Ricans, where Democrats outvoted the GOP nearly 2:1.
But it’s a different story when it comes to absentee ballots, thanks to strong Cuban-American support in Southeast Florida, where Hispanic GOP absentee ballots were more than double those cast by Hispanic Democrats. Still, Hispanic Democrats cling to a narrow 37-41 percent lead over Republicans in the overall early vote. And Democrats have more Hispanics to turn out relative to the number of Republican Hispanics who haven’t yet voted.
Non-Hispanic white voters: About 67 percent of the electorate, white voters turn out in higher proportions than minorities during Florida elections. They cast 77 percent of absentee ballots, but only 61 percent of in-person early votes.