Nearly 16 percent of GOP voters have cast ballots
by Associated Press
Tallahassee, FL (AP) - Nearly 16 percent of Florida's registered Republicans already have cast their presidential primary ballots.
The Department of State on Monday reported 632,513 Republicans submitted absentee ballots or took advantage of early voting before Tuesday's primary.
The breakdown is 338,753 absentee ballots submitted and 293,760 early votes cast.
Florida has slightly more than 4 million registered Republicans.
Comparable numbers for 2008's presidential primary are not available. That's because there was something for all Florida voters on the ballot regardless of party affiliation. Both major parties had primaries and the ballot included a state constitutional amendment offering tax relief.
Of nearly 4.3 million ballots that year, 1.15 million were cast early or absentee. That was almost 27 percent of the total.
Large Republican Turnout Expected
Tallahassee, FL -- January 30, 2012 --
Enthusiasm is high for the Republican Presidential Primary. Nat sot of horn.
Kayla Westbrook, who is President of the Young Republicans at FSU, says enthusiasm is high on campus for all the candidates.
“I’m going to be graduating at the end of the year and I’m really concerned about whether I can get a job or just, you know, my future, really,” Westbrook said.
More than six hundred thousand Republicans have already cast early or absentee ballots. The GOP says that no matter how you measure it, making the primary the fourth in the nation was a big success.
“Florida is everything we thought it would be based on the earlier primary date,” Brian Hughes with the Republican Party of Florida said. “Number 4 in the order, the first contest to be all Republicans, a closed contests, huge numbers of turnout, maybe 2 million or more people before this is all said and done”
This will be the first test of changes made to the voting law last year, and under those changes, college students and anyone else who has moved may not be able to cast a regular ballot.
The change will likely result in more voters being required to cast provisional ballots.
“They would then have verification from the former county, the old county, that they had not already cast a ballot,” Secretary of State Kurt Browning said.
Even if Republican voters set a primary turnout record, Tuesday should be a tame day compared to four years ago. That’s when Democrats also had a heated primary and Independents were out in force voting on a property tax reduction.
In 2008, just over one point nine million Republicans voted in the Presidential Primary, handing John McCain a come-from-behind victory.
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