Florida Democrats Successfully Eliminate Historic Republican Vote-By-Mail Advantage — GOP Lead In Requests and Returns Down to 1%
Tallahassee, FL — In 2016, the Florida Democratic Party has successfully eliminated the GOP’s longstanding advantage in request and returns of vote-by-mail ballots. Traditionally, Republicans in Florida have held a significant advantage over Democrats in vote-by-mail — leverage that was key to offset Democrats’ strong showing during the in-person early vote period. The FDP made closing this gap a top priority for the 2016 cycle.
In 2008, a 203,000-ballot request advantage from Republicans versus Democrats narrowed the gap to 9 percent — a crucial factor that contributed to President Obama’s victory in the state. During the 2010 cycle, the request gap grew with 240,332 more Republicans requesting ballots than Democrats, creating a 13.3% gap. In March of 2016, during the Presidential Preference Primary, 159,944 more Republicans requested ballots than Democrats, leading to a 7.7% gap. Since then, Democrats have amped up their grassroots and voter education efforts to narrow the VBM request gap and weaken Republicans’ advantage.
“The Florida Democratic Party has successfully eliminated the historic Republican advantage in vote-by-mail,” said FDP Executive Director Scott Arceneaux. “Today, after more than 3 million Floridians requested vote-by-mail ballots, the Republican lead has fallen to less than 1% with only 24,222 ballots separating the two parties. Crucially, the Republican lead in retuned ballots has also been eliminated. As of this morning, 310,168 Democratic and 319,200 Republican ballots have been cast, reducing the GOP lead in returns to 1.17%. We look forward to building on this momentum as we head into the beginning of early voting and Election Day.”