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Early Voters Give Florida GOP a Seven-point Lead

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The general election is a week away, but about two million Floridians have already cast ballots. Republican have an edge in early voting, but Democrats see a silver lining in the governor’s race.

A campaign video from Governor Rick Scott makes it clear that, through next Tuesday, every day is election day. “If you haven’t voted, vote early,” the governor says in the video. “We’re doing well, but we need to win every day. We need to win every day, so we have a big win on November 4.”

His supporters might be listening. Republicans have about a seven-point lead over Democrats in early voting – though 17 percent of ballots are from Independents.  That’s according to electproject.org, run by a University of Florida political scientist.

Challenger Charlie Crist is rallying his supporters to respond, and Democrats have narrowed the gap. The Crist campaign argues its numbers have a greater impact because many Democrats voting early might otherwise not vote at all.

Senior Crist Advisor Steve Schale says Democrats, “traditionally don’t do very well pre-election day in off-year elections, and we tend to do better on election day. So, I think, quite frankly, the opposite is in play for [Scott and his supporters], which is those guys need to head in with a big margin.”

Critics argue curtailing liberal turnout is why Governor Scott reduced early voting in 2011. The law’s GOP supporters cite fraud reduction.

Crist expanded early voting when he was a Republican governor.

More information about early voting is on the Florida Division of Elections website.

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