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More than 4.8M ballots cast ahead of Election Day

Nearly 376,000 mail ballots and early votes were reported to the state Division of Elections Sunday, making for more than 4.8 million pre-Election Day votes for the 2018 general election.

The day saw Democrats cut into the GOP’s lead by more than 29,000 votes, while unaffiliated and minor party voters further diluted the Republican share of the early vote with another 85,385 ballots recorded Sunday. Eight counties — Baker, Citrus, DeSoto, Madison, Manatee, Sumter, Suwannee and Union — had not reported updated totals for the day as of late Sunday afternoon.

The Sunday haul pushed statewide turnout past 36 percent.

Many Florida counties were still open for early voting today. Additionally, a half-dozen counties that were in the path of Hurricane Michael have extended early voting into Monday.

As it stands, 1.97 million registered Republicans, 1.94 million registered Democrats and 920,904 independent voters have exercised their franchise. Percentagewise, Republicans lead Democrats by 0.6 points. Independent voters have cast 19 percent of ballots recorded thus far.

Florida Democrats say those numbers exceed their target.

“Our goal was to keep the Democratic vote deficit to under two points by election day in order to put us in the best position to win,” FDP executive director Juan Peñalosa wrote in a Sunday email.

Florida Democrats also noted gains in Collier, Martin, Indian River, St. John’s, Seminole and Sarasota counties and that they’ve pulled into the lead in Pinellas. Democrats lead by 5,600 votes in the bellwether county.

Republicans led by 3 points, or about 90,000 votes, in pre-Election Day voting four years ago, the most recent midterm election.

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