The amount of vote-by-mail requests in South Florida has never been higher.
Supervisors of Elections in Broward and Miami-Dade counties told NBC 6 that fears over catching the coronavirus at an in-person polling location caused more people to request to vote by mail.
In the State of Florida, any registered voter can vote by mail if they want to. Both political parties have encouraged it over the years, despite recent criticism from President Trump.
Thursday morning, workers with the Broward County Supervisor of Elections loaded 242,000 vote-by-mail ballots into postal service trucks. Next Monday, another 66,000 will go out according to Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci.
Six weeks ago the county sent out a million postcards to remind people they could vote by mail. So far, more than 310,000 people returned that postcard requesting a ballot. That is around a 100,000 ballot increase from the last comparable election, according to Antonacci.
“It’s because those masks you’re wearing. People are a little uncomfortable showing up in person or someplace that could have crowds. So they are availing themselves to the convenience of kitchen-table voting,” Antonacci said.
The process will be repeated in November.
If someone asks for a mail-in ballot, it is good for two years.
Broward County also purchased another set of new tabulation machines to deal with the predicted vote-by-mail avalanche.
“We’re in very good shape for the August election because we only have a single page ballot These machines read things back and front very quickly,” said Antonacci, at a tour of the Voter Equipment Center.
Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections has a different schedule than Broward County.
On July 3rd, Miami-Dade sent out 1,300 mail in ballots overseas for Americans living abroad. On July 16th, they’ll send out 356,000 to Miami-Dade voters. Compare that to four years ago when around 128,000 went out to county voters during the primary.
In total, Miami-Dade County has 1.49 million voters. Broward has around 1.2 million registered voters.
The last day to register to vote in Florida is July 20th. The last day to request a vote by mail ballot is August 8th.