Key Takeaway: Florida should have results on Election Night. Officials have had 3 weeks to process vote-by-mail ballots and expect nearly all to be counted by the times polls close. But mail delays could upend Florida's smooth election and turn their Election Night dream into a nightmare.
Last Polls Close: 8PM
Last Mail Ballots: Election Day*
Votes Processed: Oct. 12
Vote Certified: Nov. 17
*Overseas absentee ballots can arrive through Nov. 13 if postmarked by Nov. 3.
Early in-person and counted mail ballots are reported first.
The Big Number: 22 Days
Florida gives election officials over three weeks to process vote-by-mail ballots. That is crucial when processing 4.7 million mail ballots, double the 2016 total.
Floridians have had strong early voting for several elections, but nearly 9 million voted early or by-mail in 2020. 9.4 million voted total in 2016. Florida is bullish on the states ability to have results on Election Night, because only a small fraction of ballots will remain to be counted by the time polls close.
But this could all change in an extremely close election. Right now registered Democrats hold a 115,000 vote lead over Republicans, but that number stood at over 200,000 in 2016 and Hillary Clinton lost by 100,000 votes. The big difference this time is 63% of all registered voters have already voted and nearly matched 2016 total turnout.
What to watch for
- 1,266,957 vote-by-mail ballots had not been returend by Nov. 2.
- Florida voters must request a mail ballot so expect a good portion of these to be returned or those voters to vote in-person.
- The final number not returned in 2016 was 615,000.
- Mail delays may arise as a source of legal challenges if the election is close.
- 48 ballots were found undelivered at one USPS location in Miami-Dade County prompting fears that other ballots may be held up in the mail.
- Miami-Dade was crucial to Bush's 2000 victory.