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Hurricane, Early Voting at Universities Means Voter Turnout Uncertain

October 22nd, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Early voting Began in more than 30 Florida counties Monday morning.
A lengthy ballot, and increased early voting access for college students all have potential to swing the race one way or the other.
Early voting is officially underway in more than 30 Florida counties and because of a recent federal court ruling, college students will be able to vote early on campus  at the Tucker center at Florida State University. 
The same goes for other universities around the state.
“After the 2016 election, young people in Florida and around the country are more engaged than ever,” said FSU student Joshua Hanson.
Democrats like FSU student activist Kathryn Casello say they believe young voters will take full advantage of the additional access.
“The more available that we make voting the more that we will see diverse populations, young people, working families, people of color, the more that we’ll see them turn out,” said Casello.
But as of this morning 50,000 more Republicans than Democrats had cast their vote through the mail, despite democrats requesting about 100,000 more ballots.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce says it’s not surprising.
“Right now what we’re seeing is what we typically see in absentee or vote by mail ballots,” said Andrew Wiggins with the Chamber. “It tends to be more Republican, tends to be more white and it’s more elderly.”
The Republican party expects their numbers to continue to rise.
“We don’t have huge reports from Bay county and some other areas that were hard hit by the Hurricane that are traditional Republican areas,” said Evan Power, Assistant Treasurer of the RPOF.
Governor Rick Scott has loosened or waved some voting rules in eight counties hit hardest by Hurricane Michael to help victims of the storm cast their vote.
Seven of those counties are dominated by Republicans.
Adding to the mix this year are 12 constitutional amendments making the ballot abnormally lengthy, which could mean long lines at the polls, or even voter fatigue.
FSU student Ariel Ynovy says the high number of complex proposals slowed her down at the polls.
“Instead of taking like five minutes, it took me a good 20,” said Ynovy.
All counties in the state are required to start early voting on Saturday. In eight counties impacted by the hurricane, early voting can extend all the way to Election Day.

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