Democrats in Florida, a key state in next November’s presidential election, are outnumbering more than 300,000 voters in registering to exercise that right through the mail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With less than five months to go before the election, 1,463,471 Democrats have applied to vote by mail and 1,161,263 Republicans, Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said Wednesday.
The “Sunshine State”, which faces an escalation of the pandemic, with a record of 5,508 cases in the last 24 hours, is one of the closest in the country and can give victory to either party.
Peñalosa underscored the community effort of the Democrats to promote the postal vote in recent years, despite President Donald Trump’s “war” against this electoral modality by arguing possible electoral fraud.
The Republican has threatened to withhold federal funds from two key states, Nevada and Michigan, for their plans to facilitate absentee voting for security reasons during the pandemic.
However, Trump himself has used so-called “absentee voting” in Florida, where it is common, without having to justify any impediment to doing so in person.
According to data provided by Peñalosa, in the 2018 legislative elections the difference between Democrats and Republicans who asked to vote by mail in Florida was 47,321 in favor of the former, and in the past primaries it widened to 112,541 voters.
However, due to the pandemic, Florida’s overall voter registration plummeted 60% last April, compared to the same month in 2016, when Trump was elected president.
Only about 21,000 voters were added to the voter roll last April, according to data provided by the Florida Division of Elections.
As of last April, 13.7 million voters had registered, mostly Democrats (5,127,920), followed by Republicans (4,851,116) and independents (3,595,208), according to official voter registration data.
Trump will again seek to take Florida’s 29 electoral votes out of 538 in the Electoral College from the Democrats, as he did in 2016 against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden, the virtual Democratic candidate for president, leads Trump with an average of 10.1 points in national opinion polls, according to the specialist website Real Clear Politics, which points out that in Florida the gap is 6.2 points in favour of the former vice president.
According to the Florida Department of Health, 109,014 people have been infected with COVID-19 and 3,000 of them have died since March 1.