Early voting began in Florida on Saturday and more than 600,000 people have already cast absentee ballots ahead of the primary next Tuesday.
“Absentee and early voting are popular in Florida. Projections show that more than half of those voting in the primary will have cast their ballots before the March 15 primary,” the Miami Herald reports. “So far, more than 303,000 Republican voters and more than 261,000 Democratic voters have submitted their absentee ballots, according to University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith, who is tracking statewide absentee ballot returns.”
Smith told the Miami Herald that nearly 44 percent of the absentee GOP votes thus far are from voters that did not vote in 2012.
“This might bode well for (Donald Trump), as the competitive GOP primary appears to be drawing in a sizable number of Republicans — and absentee voters at that — who in previously primary contests have sat on the sidelines,” Smith explained.
However, the conservative blog site RedState, operated by anti-Trump Erick Erickson, points to a poll that argues Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) may be the candidate to best benefit from the early and absentee voters in Florida.
“Early voting is going to play a big part in this years decision and if Monmouth Polling is right. Rubio has a great head start in the early voting,” RedState’s Jay Caruso reports.
“It helps get older voters to vote which traditionally favors republicans,” former Republican Party of Florida staffer Doug McAlarney told Breitbart News about Florida’s absentee voting. “Also, it helps non-traditional candidates like Trump. Why? His voters usually do not vote in elections. The easy way to get them to vote is for Trump to identify them, have them request an absentee ballot and then return the ballot.”
McAlarney worked for the Republican Party of Florida in 2000 and also had a political consulting firm for seven years. He is now lobbying for Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.
“It would also help a candidate who is surging in the polls at the same time absentee ballots are being sent out,” McAlarney added.
He said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) may be able to benefit if his timing was right.
“Absentee voters were what really pushed George W. Bush over the top in Florida in 2000. The Republican Party of Florida had an aggressive absentee ballot program and it worked,” McAlarney recalled.