Early voting kicked off Monday in the Tampa Bay area, with Democrats dominating early at the polls.
Hillsborough County saw 24,063 early voters Monday, adding to the 186,166 mail-in ballots reported by the county so far. The county has 934,346 registered voters, putting the county’s turnout rate at 22.5% about two weeks out from Election Day.
In Hillsborough, Democrats account for nearly half of all ballots cast so far. Of the 210,229 voters in the county who have cast their ballot so far, 104,646, or 49.8%, are Democrats, 59,910, or 28.5%, are Republicans and 45,673, or 21.7%, are third party or unaffiliated voters.
It appears that Democrats earned their lead through mail-in ballots — the party accounts for 93,156 of mail-in ballots cast so far, compared to 51,220 from Republicans and 41,790 from third party or non-affiliated voters.
The gap between party turnout narrows a bit in early voting reporting, although Democrats dominated that as well. Hillsborough County saw 11,490 Democrats who early voted Monday, 8,690 Republicans and 3,883 third party or non-affiliated voters.
In neighboring Pinellas County, which has already reported record send-outs of mail-in ballots, 8,305 people turned out to vote early on Monday. The county has also reported 168,206 mail-in ballots cast so far, making for 176,511 total ballots cast — a 24.82% turnout of the county’s 711,170 registered voters.
Democrats continued to dominate in Pinellas, too, accounting for 82,575, or 48.78% of all voters so far. Republicans follow with 56,521, or 32.02%, and third party or non-affiliated voters trail with 37,415, or 21.19%, of votes cast.
Once again, Democrats dominate in the county’s received mail-in ballots, with 79,007 Democratic voters having sent in their ballots already. Republicans follow with 53,328, and third party or non-affiliated voters with 35,871.
As far as early voting, the two major parties were nearly tied. In Pinellas, 3,568 early voters were Democrats and 3,193 were Republicans. Only 121 were registered with a third party, and 1,423 had no party affiliation.
Early voting in both counties started Monday through Nov. 1 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Voters can cast a ballot at any early voting site, a contrast to Election Day when they must vote from their designated precinct.