More Than 1.6 Million Early Votes Cast in Florida, Breaking Record

Early voting wrapped up in Florida this weekend, and the number of Floridians who headed to the polls before Election Day set a new record. On the Democratic side, early and absentee voting was up more than 200 percent since the 2008 primary. For Republicans, the number was up roughly 50 percent since the 2012 primary. 

Here, via MCI Maps, is the breakdown of early votes already cast in the election for Democrats: And for Republicans: That's a total of more than 1,637,464 votes already cast in the presidential primaries on both sides of the aisle. 

Notable is the increased turnout of Hispanic Democrats in early voting. They make up 10.23 percent of votes already cast on the Democratic side, compared to 8.27 percent in 2008. 

Early voting is still a relatively new feature of democracy. The state began the practice in 2004 as part of several election reforms enacted in the state after the 2000 election debacle. 

This is the first presidential election held after Gov. Rick Scott signed a 2013 bill into law expanding the hours of early voting. The exact hours of early voting are determined on the county level. For federal races, early voting can begin as soon as 15 days before the election. That may explain, in part, why the early vote total is up across the board. 

However, early voting isn't good news for candidates hoping to make a last-minute splash in the race. Polling takes early voters into account, making their results more accurate than in other states without early voting. That's good news for current state frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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