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Florida holds primary amid coronavirus pandemic

About 2.2 million Floridians voted by mail
Secretary of State of Florida Laurel Lee
Posted at 7:58 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 20:08:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — State election officials said sanitation and safety were top priorities Tuesday as Floridians headed to the polls amid the pandemic.

They are also working closely to with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure absentee ballots are delivered on time despite a surge in demand.

SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020

According to state officials, Tuesday went pretty smoothly with no health, security or operational issues to report.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee said around midday that all polling locations were open and prepared for voters. PPE was in use, social distancing measures were in effect and frequent disinfecting was used as well.

However, many people also avoided the virus and voting precincts altogether, choosing to vote by absentee this year.

The latest numbers show more than 2.2 million Floridians voted by mail. That’s a near 73 percent increase over 2016's primary.

Lee said supervisors have been able to process all of those ballots without issue, and the U.S. Postal Service is reassuring officials eligible ballots will be delivered on time.

"We work very closely with both state and regional level employees of the postal service to quickly identify and respond if there are issues identified with timely mail delivery. This election cycle, the vast majority of supervisors have reported no issues with that process," Lee said.

The primary is essentially a dress rehearsal for the general election in November when turnout is expected to be at least three times higher.

The secretary of state said Tuesday it has been a good chance to prepare.

Election officials have been able to assess and test all of their systems and security before the big night.

Turnout for the general election is expected to be near 75 percent or more.