Will Florida’s record mail, early voting numbers mean big overall turnout?

A line outside an early voting site in 2016. This year’s early and mail-in voting totals are higher than those for the 2014 or 2016 August primaries. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

Pre-election turnout for Tuesday’s Florida primaries hit record levels over the weekend. That includes big turnout in Palm Beach County, as The Palm Beach Post’s Jane Musgrave reports.

The big unanswered question: Do the high levels of mail-in ballots and in-person early voting signal big overall turnout for the primaries — or merely a shift in voter behavior toward more convenient ballot-casting?

Statistics provided by the Florida Division of Elections this morning show than 1.85 million Florida voters have cast ballots through the mail or at in-person early voting sites ahead of Tuesday’s elections — exceeding the 1.82 million who took advantage of mail and early voting before the August 2016 primaries and far surpassing the 1.2 million who cast ballots ahead of election day in August 2014.

The weekend saw a surge of Democrats showing up for in-person early voting, which ended on Sunday. About 160,000 people cast ballots at early voting sites around the state on Saturday and Sunday, including about 90,000 Democrats and about 60,000 Republicans.

The final turnout for in-person early voting in the state was 658,800. That included 317,499 Democrats and 296,585 Republicans. The GOP had a slight edge in early voting turnout before the 2014 and 2016 primaries.

As of this morning, elections offices have logged 1.2 million mail-in ballots. Those include 557,121 from Republicans and 491,810 from Democrats.