Central Florida election officials consider changes to early voting after surprisingly low turnout

ORLANDO, Fla. — Early voting ends this weekend for all Central Florida counties and data shows turnout has been extremely low, even by midterm standards.


Nearly 1.5 million have voted by mail as of Friday morning and approximately 383,000 have voted early.

READ: Florida primary election: Here’s how to find your polling location

According to the data, turnout is down significantly in every Central Florida county so far compared to 2018. With just a few days left, it’s not likely the numbers for 2022 will catch up.

Analysts say there are a number of factors likely at play.

Recent afternoon rain showers are not likely to help voter turnout. Many people are also likely tied up with the start of school.

Overall, many experts say the ballot itself may be to blame. There aren’t many hotly contested local races except perhaps for the Democratic race for Governor.

READ: 20 arrested in Florida for voter fraud, state announces

In some races, like the one in District 10 where more than a dozen candidates are entered- many of them unknowns- voters could be turned away.

It costs Orange County about a million dollars for two weeks of early voting. So far, voter turnout is at only 10 percent, and a vast majority of those were mailed ballots.

As a result of the low turnout, Orange County elections officials are considering reducing the amount of time early voting will be available.

Officials in Seminole County have already reduced their early voting period from two weeks to just one. Lake County only does early voting for 10 days.

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Orange County officials say the costs associated with early voting will only go up with the addition of increased election integrity enforcement that will require police to escort the ballots daily.

In Orange County, there are 19 polling locations. At about $150 per officer for two weeks, the cost comes out to an extra $40,000 not accounted for in the budget.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.