The Corner

An Important Part of the Florida Vote…

…will be early and absentee votes.

Nearly 7 percent of Florida’s 10-million registered voters have already cast their ballots for Tuesday’s election, suggesting the vote may buck the recent trend of lackluster turnout.

Nearly 700,000 voters had voted early or returned absentee ballots as of Thursday. Just 786,000 voted in the uncontested 2004 presidential primary.

Fueling the turnout is a jumbled Republican presidential contest and Amendment 1, a statewide referendum on a pocketbook issue, property taxes. In fact, one in 10 of the early voters aren’t affiliated with a major party and can’t vote in the presidential primary.

But the surge is also forcing Republican presidential candidates to fine-tune their pitches as a sizable – and possibly decisive – chunk of votes will be cast before the polls open next Tuesday.

…So far 325,161 Republicans have cast early or absentee votes, compared to 295,932 Democrats.

At yesterday’s event, Romney asked supporters how many had already voted, and perhaps ten percent of those in attendance raised their hands.

Rudy, who was leading before, could be the beneficiary of earlies and absentees. So could McCain, who led until more recently.

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