Early voting in midterms begins without a glitch, officials expect a higher turnout later

Early voting was going smoothly on Monday afternoon in South Florida, officials said.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Early voting for the Nov. 8, 2022 midterm elections started on a slow Monday without a glitch in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but experts and officials expect it to get busier later this month.

Christina White, Miami-Dade’s supervisor of elections, described Monday as a “great” and “very smooth” start at the county’s 28 locations. Joe Scott, the Broward’s supervisor, said procrastinators could change that at his county’s 24 locations.

“You have 14 days. It starts to build where most people wait until the last minute, so that last day will probably be our busiest day,” Scott said.

There are about 1.5 million registered to vote in Miami-Dade and about 1.25 million in Broward. White said the race between Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Charlie Crist will likely mean a turnout of 40% to 50%.

Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political science professor, said he has been tracking election data and he believes this midterm election turnout could be higher and on par with the more than 60% of the 2020 presidential election and the more than 50% of the 2018 midterms.

“Those were the highest turnout rate elections that we have had in more than a century, a century of American politics,” McDonald said.

Republicans are vying to take away Democrats’ control of both chambers of Congress starting with the House — they need just five seats. The Republican’s accomplishment would be a victory for former President Donald Trump and a loss for President Joe Biden during his next two years in office.

“I feel like this one is really quite high stakes,” Lawrence “Larry” Goodman said in Coral Gables adding, “The future of the country, I think, is very much at stake.”

Related story: Fight for control of Congress

In South Florida, Republicans are mostly campaigning on improving the economy and tightening U.S. immigration policy, and Democrats are focusing on the issues of gun control, climate change, and access to abortion.

“I think there are a lot of lighting rod issues out there,” said Ray Luengo, an early voter in Miami. “I think it is very polarizing.”

Scott and White said the deadline to request a mail-in ballot from their offices is Oct. 29. Joan and Cliff Titus said they decided to drop off their mail-in ballot on Monday morning in Coral Gables because they don’t trust the mail service.

“I think it’s going to have a major turnout this time around,” Cliff Titus said. “I think people are going to decide one or the other what this country wants to be.”

Related link: Be election ready: 2022 Local 10 voter guide

Watch the 12 p.m. report: Coral Gables voters turn out to vote early

Voters turn out on Monday to the Coral Gables Youth Center during the first day of early voting.

Watch This Week In South Florida

On the latest episode of This Week in South Florida, hosts Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg welcome State Sen. Annette Taddeo, State Senate candidates Alexis Calatayud and Janelle Perez, and Miami-Dade Commission candidate Jorge Fors.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.