Florida smashed the state’s previous records on Monday, with at least 350,000 people casting ballots for in-person early voting, Politico reports.
Some of the voters on Monday reportedly munched on pizza — a treat from pop icon Ariana Grande while they waited to cast what grew to at least 350,000 ballots by the day’s end. The totals — which were still being counted into the late hours of the night — far exceed the number of ballots cast on for the first day of in-person early voting in 2016 which saw 291,000 ballots cast on opening day. Monday’s totals include 52 of Florida’s 67 counties. Remaining counties will start early voting on Saturday.
Democrats appear to have nailed down a strong lead ahead of Election Day in the state which polling experts have said Trump must win in order to secure a win in this year’s election. That lead is built on 450,000 mail-in ballots raked in through Monday, although Republicans contend that Democrats have not gained votes, but have instead shifted from in-person voting to voting by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Democrats know they can’t compete with our unrivaled ground game,” Trump Victory spokesperson Emma Vaughn told Politico.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris held in-person rallies in Orlando and Jacksonville to drum up excitement in the kick off for early voting.
“Y’all are going to make it happen,” Harris told an audience in Orlando which is has historically been home to a swath of swing voters. She added that early voters in the sunshine state would “be the first to put our country back on the right track,” for a Biden victory in a critical battleground state.
Per Politico, Jacksonville was won for the first time in recent political memory by Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections, an outcome they hope to replicate in 2020.
The Trump campaign has held “Team Trump On Tour” bus events to drive up momentum, including stops in Pensacola and Tallahassee that featured Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R).
“Today is really the start of our get out the vote movement, with our supporters wanting to vote in person, or turn their absentee ballots in person at voting locations,” said Leon County GOP Chair Evan Power, who attended the Trump events. “We are confident that our voters will turn out between now and Election Day to support the President and our Republican team.”