The battle for Orange County is already heated as absentees flood into the Supervisor of Elections and early voters stand in line to make their voices heard.
As of Monday morning, the vote counts show a slight advantage for the Democratic Party. According to the Supervisor of Elections office, 127,583 Orange County voters have already cast their ballot through early voting options. Democrats have an approximate lead of 32,500 votes in early votes. However, Democrats had a 50,000 vote lead after Early Voting in 2008. Florida Republicans shortened the early vote period and reduced days and times this year.
The chase for absentee ballots started early in the year, with Democrats focused on increasing turnout through mail-in ballots. That work seems to have paid off, as Democrats actually have a 6,000 vote advantage in absentees. Total absentee turnout is roughly even with 2008 turnout numbers, though the Democrats have taken the slight Republican advantage away here. However, with the increased number of requests, many voters mailed an absentee ballot have not yet returned them. Those voters can vote at their polling place, or drop off their completed absentee ballot to the Supervisor of Elections office.
Also inflating the absentee returns is the fact that Orange County has allowed “walk-in absentee voting” giving voters the chance to essentially cast an early vote at the SOE office by requesting an absentee ballot on the spot and turning it in right then. This option was open on Sunday and is available Monday before Election Day.
One other factor that simple party registration does not account for is the “other” and No Party Affiliation voters who have cast ballots. Here are the total breakdowns by party, according to the Supervisor of Elections:
2012 Orange County Early Vote Counts:
Democratic Party: 66,673 votes
Republican Party: 34,113 votes
Other/NPA: 26,797 votes
Total Orange County Early Votes (so far): 127,583 votes
2012 Orange County Absentee Vote Counts:
Democratic Party: 50,398 votes
Republican Party: 44,389 votes
Other/NPA: 22,338 votes
Total Orange County Absentee Votes (so far): 117,125 votes