BY TONY WINTON
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Key Biscayne’s electorate, engaged and energized, is clearly showing a preference for early voting, with 4,980 people having already voted by mail or at early voting sites across Miami-Dade County, election officials said Wednesday. That rate — nearly 62% — is higher than the county cast ballot rate of about 50%
Add another 1,641 people who have been issued mail ballots (but haven’t yet returned them) and it means that 82% of the island’s 8,080 registered voters have either voted or are in the process of doing so.
With all of that energy, the ten candidates for Village Council and supporters and opponents of the resiliency bond ballot question have a smaller universe of voters to reach. Campaigns are now urging people who were issued mail ballots to take them to early voting drop-off boxes — and not use the U.S. Postal Service.
And, of course, there will be final outreach for people who will cast ballots at early voting sites or on election day. The number of people who can only vote in-person is 1,459.
Countywide, Democratic turnout has lagged the 2016 percentages, compared to Republican response rates, but with so many new voters engaged, many analysts urged caution.
Democratic strategist Steve Schale put it this way on his blog: “In the current political alignment of battleground states, Florida is not only the biggest, it is actually the closest.”
Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to campaign in Florida again on Thursday, an indication of the state’s electoral college importance.
One other measure of engagement comes from a comparison to two years ago. it looks like in Key Biscayne, almost everyone who is entitled to vote is registered this year.
The U.S. Census estimate for eligible voters in 2018 was 6,942, plus or minus 500. Just two years later, the number of actual registered voters was 8,080.
|Mailed but not returned|
|Mail Ballots Returned|
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.