South Florida’s vote by mail massive for August primary, expect more in November

MIAMI, Fla. – The success was unprecedented when it comes to vote by mail in the South Florida 2020 August Primary Election and even Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed it as successful and safe.

Supervisors of elections in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties said they are expecting that vote by mail will double in November's presidential election.

For this primary, some two-thirds of voters chose to vote by mail either via mailbox or via drop-off box.

“We did see a big spike in requests so that’s really where we thought the election was going to fall,” Christina White, Miami-Dade Election Supervisor, said. It was a deluge. In Broward County, the count finished at 2 a.m.

"People seem to like the idea of sitting at their kitchen table and filling out their ballots," Pete Antonacci, Broward Supervisor of Elections, said.

Miami-Dade and Broward election supervisors urged voters to request mail-in ballots as a hedge against in-person voting COVID-19 concerns. It turns out the response flipped the turnout script.

One example was the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s race. Frontrunner Steve Bovo handily won the in-person vote with 64,480 at the polls votes to 57,599 mail in. Danielle Levine Cava received 80,628 votes and 39,318 in person votes, which narrowed the spread between them to just half a percent.

"Is it that there was a shift of people voting? Or was it overall enthusiasm?" White ponders.

Miami-Dade and Broward elections offices are expecting the number of vote by mail ballots to double in November. There are no worries about the U.S. Mail being able to deliver as President Donald Trump has telegraphed.

Florida’s Republican governor supported the choice of mail-in voting and touting its safety.

“We did have a lot of mail voting in Florida. It’s a safe way to do it. You request a ballot, you get it, you send it in. It’s just not ballots floating everywhere,” DeSantis said.

The concerns with supervisors lie more in counting a deluge of last-minute drop offs, and as November campaign season begins, so does the campaign for voters who want to send in ballots by mail to them in early.

“Looking into the future, it’ll change how we do our work here because I believe people will be habituated to it pretty quickly,” Antonacci said.

Antonacci thinks voting by mail is going to be the way of the future and the new normal.

Click here to view the results of all races in South Florida.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."