General State Info

  • Total # of Delegates: 29
  • Total Voting Eligible Population15,551,739
  • Governor: R
  • State Legislature: R

State of the Race

RCP Polling Average (10/28-11/2): Biden 47.9% – Trump 47%

Cook Political Report Rating: Toss Up

FiveThirtyEight Forecast (11/3): Biden is “slightly favored” to win

Source: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-forecast/florida/

Early Voting Key Facts

  • Early Voting Options: Early Voting (In Person), “Vote by Mail”
  • Early Voting Dates: All counties must offer early voting Oct. 24-31. Counties may also offer it Oct. 19-23 and Nov. 1
  • When Mail Ballots Sent Out to Voters: September 24 – October 1
  • Absentee/Mail Ballot Processing Laws
    • Processing: 22 days before Election Day.  (West’s F.S.A. § 101.68)
    • Counting:  22 days before Election Day. (West’s F.S.A. § 101.68)
  • Deadline to Receive Absentee/Mailed Ballots: Election Day by 7pm
  • Accept Postmarked Ballots that Arrive After Election Day?: NO
  • Absentee/Mail Ballot Signature Requirement: Ballot must be signed and match signature on file
  • “Curing” Mail Ballots: FL allows for voters to fix mistakes discovered by election officials after they’ve submitted their ballot. Election officials must notify a voter “as soon as practicable” if they discover that the voter has returned a vote-by-mail ballot that does not include the elector’s signature or contains a signature that does not match the elector’s signature in the registration books or precinct register. Voters may cure ballots until 5 p.m. on the second day after the election. (Flor. Stat. § 101.68)
  • For more, see Florida’s Official Vote By Mail page here

Early Vote & General FAQ

  • What happened in the 2016 Presidential Election? 
  • Is Florida well-equipped to handle the surge in mail-in ballots for the upcoming election?
    • There are a number of reasons to have confidence in Florida’s ability to handle the influx of mail ballots in 2020
      • 1) Prior Experience w/ Vote by Mail
        • Florida, unlike other key swing states (ex: Pennsylvania), has previously administered elections that featured significant vote by mail returns. Election officials’ prior experience, existing infrastructure for handling mail ballots, and voters familiar with this alternative method of voting will all be critical in allowing FL to accurately and efficiently get their results on November 3rd. 
      • 2) Early Processing/Counting Laws
        • Florida’s early processing laws (noted above) means that the huge numbers of mail in ballot should not pose a significant counting delay on Election Day. 
      • 3) Strict deadline for mail ballots — they must be received by 7pm on election night or will not count; 
        • Consequently, not having to wait for late arriving ballots ensures a more timely return.

Election Night Questions

  • Will there be a: Red Mirage, Blue Mirage, No Mirage?
    • In FL, look for an early blue mirage due to the fact that the first returns will include the pre-election day early votes. Then Trump will come back as election day vote is counted. Finally, in a very tight race late absentee votes and then provisional ballots will help Biden.
  • Who will be ahead during the first return(s)on election night? Why?
    • Vice President Biden will likely jump out to a lead when the first returns come in on election night.  This is because a huge swath of the initial ballots will be from the early and mail-in voters who cast their ballots in the days and weeks prior to November 3.
    • FL allows for processing of mail ballots starting over three weeks before Nov. 3, so these votes will be among the first to be officially counted. Based on FL’s mail in voting numbers, Democrats have turned out in huge numbers, and are outpacing Republicans in both requested and returned mail ballots
    • So, expect the heavily Democratic early voting (both in-person and by mail) numbers to fuel a Biden lead off the bat when polls close and counties start releasing results.
  • Will Florida be able to call the race on election night?
    • It depends — if the race is too close to call, things could take a while.
    •  However, if the early vote goes big for Biden, and Trump does not have a strong election day performance, then Biden’s early lead will prove insurmountable and a projection will be possible on election night. 
    • On the flip side, if Biden jumps out to a quick lead but Trump has another monster election day performance like he did in 2016, Biden’s initial advantage will evaporate significantly or entirely. Under this scenario, the race will either be tied/too close to call or have Trump in the driver’s seat to win.
  • What are key political and elections officials/experts saying about their expectations for election night?

Some have expressed confidence that FL should be able to make a call on election night:

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis: “There’s some of these states they’re not allowed to even start that until the polls close. Well that’s going to take forever to be able to count them. If we had to wait, man, we’d have millions of ballots that would just be sitting there. Except for ballots “that come in at the very end,” mail ballots should be counted by the time the polls close, DeSantis said. “That will make it much smoother.”
  • Michael McDonald, University of Florida political scientist, founder of U.S. Elections Project: “”Unless the contest is too close to call, “we will likely know who won the election on election night, because Florida is a fast-reporting state”
  • Craig Latimer, president of the Florida state association of supervisors of elections and the elections supervisor in Hillsborough County: “We’re going to be the shining star on election night”. 

However, others officials have been much less bullish on the prospects of quick return:

  • Wesley Wilcox (Marion County Supervisor of Elections) and Mark Earley (Leon County Supervisor of Elections) have publicly stated that Florida might not get final results for the presidential contest on election night this year.  Wilcox cited the increased number of mail ballots this year, potential surges in the number of ballots that come in large counties on the final day, and “massive amount of handling time” it takes to count them as likely sources of delayed returns.

Total Early Vote (in person + mail ballots) by Party Registration

No Party Affiliation1,962,01921.6
Source: https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/FL.html

As of 11/3 — Total Voted as Percentage of Registered Voters: 53.1%

Note: Graphic above (10/30) based on TargetSmart’s “Modeled” data which — party affiliation derived from internal TargetSmart modeling.

2020 Mail Voting Stats

Mail Ballots Requested by Party Registration

PartyRequested BallotsFreq. Distribution
No Party Affiliation1,365,42222.7
Data as of 11/3 Source: https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/FL.html

Mail Ballots Returned by Party Registration

PartyReturned BallotsFreq. DistributionRequested BallotsReturn Rate
No Party Affiliation1,054,57222.31,365,42277.2
Data as of 11/3 Source: https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/FL.html

Early In-Person Stats

In-Person Votes by Party Registration

No Party Affiliation907,44720.9
Data as of 11/3 Source: https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/FL.html

Early Vote Comparison: 2016

2016 Early Vote
Total Early Vote (in person + by mail): 6,511,712
Mail in ballots sent/requested: 6,980,238
Mail in ballots returned: 2,636,783
Early in Person: 3,874,929
% Total Early Vote by Party Affiliation
Democrat — 39.8% (2,593,110)
Republican — 38.4% (2,502,999)
Independent/Other— 21.7% 
Source: http://www.electproject.org/2016g
Source: https://targetearly.targetsmart.com/index.html