Those who want to watch the ballots trickle in minute-to-minute on Election Day can do so with a little knowhow, but that real-time data is lacking numbers from more than a dozen counties, including some of the most reliably Democratic ones in the state.
The thirteen counties lagging: DeSoto, Hamilton, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lake, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Orange, Palm Beach, Putnam, Sarasota, Suwannee and Taylor.
Together, those counties are home to more than a third of Florida voters. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach alone account for 2.37 million registered voters — nearly 18 percent of the state’s 13.27 million voters.
More important for armchair statisticians: More than a fifth of the state’s 4.94 million Democrats live in those two counties.
And most important: The 675,000 mail and early votes sent in by those counties have sent in numbers for account for 13 percent of the total votes and 32 percent Democratic Party votes cast through Monday.
For top-of-ticket Democrats, there is no road to the Governor’s Mansion or the U.S. Senate that avoids South Florida. And for both Republicans and Democrats, there’s no road without Orange or Hillsborough, home to roughly one in eight voters in the Sunshine State.
Those two counties had tabulated more than a quarter million mail and early votes but accounted for only 4.8 percent of the vote as of Monday’s data dump.
There are some reliable GOP counties that are shrouded at the moment, too, but none so important to Republicans as Dade and Palm Beach are to Democrats. If an argument could be made for any, it would be Sarasota County. But as red as it’s gone in the past it’s only home to about 135K of Florida’s 4.68 million Republicans.
All told, the 13 counties keeping mum had produced 1.8 million ballots through yesterday, or about 34.6 percent of the pre-Election Day total.