Outstanding Democratic ballots are three-times Joe Biden’s Election Day margin in Florida
Donald Trump. Image via AP.

Donald Trump
If Democrats don't hand in their remaining vote-by-mail ballots, analysts see a Donald Trump victory in the Sunshine State.

President Donald Trump‘s lone path to reelection cuts through Florida and requires would-be Joe Biden voters with outstanding vote-by-mail ballots to not return them by the time the polls close Tuesday.

Election handicappers at Michael Bloomberg‘s Hawkfish political data firm say the Democratic presidential nominee is poised to beat Trump in Florida and five other battleground states on Election Day, but the final total will come down to Democratic turnout.

If turnout runs as expected and the polls in the Sunshine State are accurate, Josh Mendelsohn and Michael Halle at Hawkfish expect Biden to win the state by 120,000 votes. But among unreturned ballots, they predict Biden has 432,000 ballots that if not returned or are mailed now — too late to count — would hand the state’s 29 electoral votes to Trump.

“If those ballots do not end up coming back in and people do not vote them on election day, that is the margin, a significant three-X the margin if they don’t come in,” Halle said. “If those ballots aren’t counted, it would produce a Trump win of roughly 300,000 votes.”

Georgia and Arizona fall under a similar scenario but with even tighter margins.

So does Pennsylvania, but early voting options are fairly new in the Keystone State, and there is a significant uptick in turnout there. Still, half a million mail-in ballots remain outstanding there in the state that many believe is most likely to decide the election.

“There’s a very strategic reason the President is messaging that, hey, whatever that count is on November 3rd is what needs to be what decides the election, because they know they have a problem if all these vote-by-mail ballots that are correctly postmarked get counted,” Mendelsohn said.

The battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin, states that unexpectedly handed Trump his 2016 victory, now seem clearly in Biden’s column, Halle said.

Ultimately the election will come down to turnout, and both sides have historic enthusiasm. The question still remains whether Democrats have exhausted their pool of support from mail-in ballots.

This year, election watchers have noticed a partisan realignment with diverging preferences for mail-in and in-person voting.

As of Saturday morning in Florida, more than 2 million Democrats have voted by mail while less than 1.4 million Republicans have done the same. And Republicans hold a clear lead in early voting, approaching 1.8 million ballots cast to Democrats’ 1.2 million. On the day of the election, Republicans are also expected to outperform Democrats.

However, minorities are more likely to vote on Election Day, the analysts said, fueled in part by higher levels of mistrust in elections among communities of color.

“They’re right to be concerned,” Mendelsohn said. “It’s going to come down in Florida and elsewhere to making sure that every vote that is cast is counted.”

This month, Trump has made five stops in Florida with at least one more planned in Miami-Dade County on Sunday, less than 48 hours before polls close. His campaign surrogates and family members have also hit the state near-daily.

“If Biden wins Florida, it’s a lights-out scenario, because it just gets really difficult to see how — it would force Trump to start winning states Hillary Clinton won in 2016,” Halle said.

But while Florida is a must-win state for the President, Biden can afford to lose it.

Georgia and North Carolina are also considered must-win battlegrounds for him. All routes to reelection run through the trio of southern toss-ups.

“Every day that Trump has to divert resources to places like Florida, it’s narrowing those paths more and more and more and more,” Mendelsohn said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at r[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.



    October 31, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I’m lily white and 65 with an underlying condition. Have sheltered in place since end of Feb. The only time I have left my apt. was last week, donned with mask and gloves, to vote in person to re-elect Donald Trump. I did it to make absolutely sure that my vote counted, and again, I’m lily white. My conservative biracial son did the same. Both here in Florida. Here’s why I knew I must vote in person which has nothing to do with race and I’m damn tired of the race card and weaponization of race every election cycle. The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database has been around for four years. With the addition of our latest batch of cases, we are up to 1,285 proven instances of voter fraud. Examples include impersonation fraud at the polls; false voter registrations; duplicate voting; fraudulent absentee ballots; vote buying; illegal assistance and intimidation of voters; ineligible voting, such as by aliens; altering of vote counts; and ballot petition fraud. Millions of mailed ballots have been misdirected or gone missing in prior elections. Electronic signatures are too imprecise and easily duplicated, and should not be accepted. Automatically mailing a ballot to all registered voters is an open invitation to fraud and abuse. Not every new resident at an address throws out the ballot that is still being automatically mailed to a former resident, and third parties may canvass neighborhoods looking for those “extra” ballots—with some being tempted to cast those extra votes. States should ban “vote harvesting” and not allow candidates, party activists, or political consultants who have a stake in the outcome, to collect absentee ballots from voters

    Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., four men were charged with voter fraud – including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body. In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. Over 800 ballots in Paterson were invalidated for appearing in mailboxes improperly bundled together – including one mailbox where hundreds of ballots were in a single packet. The bundles were turned over to law enforcement to investigate potential criminal activity related to the collection of the ballots. The board of elections disqualified another 2,300 ballots after concluding that the signatures on them did not match the signatures on voter records.

    In a USPS memo, it says mail carriers may have to leave mail behind at distribution centers in order to make it on time to their delivery routes. One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that – temporarily – we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks…….

    Judicial Watch Finds Millions of ‘Extra’ Registrants on Voting Rolls – Warns California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia to Clean Up Voting Rolls or Face a Federal Lawsuit

    A voter registration group is sending hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots to voters in states that do not automatically mail the ballot applications themselves. The mailings contain legitimate ballot applications, but at first glance appear to be from a government source, which is “potentially misleading” for recipients, according to election officials. The organizations have repeatedly sent voters incorrect information. This week, hundreds of thousands of voters in Virginia had incorrect election office addresses on their prepaid return envelopes. Earlier this summer, the Center for Voter Information sent thousands of North Carolina voters forms that were invalid because the group had partially filled them out, a practice made illegal by a new state law.

    Puerto Rico forced to partially suspend primary voting because of lack of ballots. Hundreds of frustrated voters who wore the required face masks were turned away from centers across Puerto Rico.

    Philly Fraud Case Expands

    The U.S. Justice Department this past week charged former Democratic congressman Michael Myers with stuffing ballot boxes, bribing an elected official, falsifying records, obstructing justice and voting multiple times in federal elections in Philadelphia. Myers was the second official charged in the scheme. Domenick DeMuro, a Democratic ward chairman in that city, admitted in a plea deal that he had “fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear,” prosecutors said. DeMuro allegedly had a network of clients who paid him significant sums of money to rig elections over several years.

    California voter fraud conviction exposes Skid Row scheme. In February, 62-year-old Norman Hall pled guilty in a scheme to pay money and cigarettes to homeless people on Los Angeles’ Skid Row in exchange for false and forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms. Hall got a year in jail.

    Illinois let non-citizens register to vote in blunder. In January, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White disclosed in a letter to the Legislature that a “programming error” in a signature pad at driver services facilities led to 574 non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters. At least one, and perhaps as many as 15, non-citizens may have voted in the 2018 election. White’s office says the problem has been fixed.

    Double voting in Arizona. Last month, Randy Allen Jumper pleaded guilty in Arizona to attempting to vote in two states during the 2016 general election: Arizona and Nevada. He was also charged with falsely signing a statement vowing not to vote in the general election anywhere but Arizona.

    After NPR report that more than 550,000 primary absentee ballots were rejected in 2020, experts urge Americans to make plans to vote early and track ballots.


    7000 residents in the township of Teaneck, #NewJersey have received mail-in #ballots with the wrong Congressional Representatives’ names printed on them. The mistake affected one-quarter of all ballots for Teaneck, elections officials said.

    Texas mayoral candidate arrested for mail-in ballot fraud. Zul Mohamed is running to become the mayor of Carrollton, Texas.

    More than 100 undelivered absentee ballots found in Kentucky dumpster

    10/28/20 Another employee for the U.S. Postal Service is facing federal charges in the latest instance where mail-in ballots were discovered dumped in the trash in Kentucky.

    These things continue around the country today.

  • Frankie M.

    October 31, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Tldr…keep drinkin the koolaid tho. You & your biracial son.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 1, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the common good!

  • Beta Drift

    November 1, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Actually, they count your mail-in ballot as outstanding even if you elect to vote in person, happened to me & my family.

Comments are closed.


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