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Sharp rise in mail-in ballots expected to continue in November for Palm Beach County

181,328 mail-in ballots cast in primary
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Posted at 5:54 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 18:19:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After Tuesday's primary, election officials are already looking toward November.

Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory link, who won her primary on Tuesday, said the biggest take away from the primary was the popularity of mail-in voting.

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Palm Beach County said 181,328 mail-in ballots were returned out of 262,668 total votes. Turnout for the primary was at 26.5 percent.

Just under 70 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail or dropped them at the box instead of going to the polls. It is a trend the non-partisan group Common Cause is seeing in Florida.

"I think for November, vote by mail will still be the choice in Florida for the majority of voters," said Liza McClenaghan, the state chair for Common Cause Florida.

In Palm Beach County, Sartory Link said the popularity seemed to be fueled by brushing up the dropbox outside the main office located on Military Trail.

"The drop off was very big ... That box has been there for years. We painted it white ... The popularity increased overnight," Sartory Link said.

The supervisor of elections said she noticed the popularity of vote by mail, especially with the approaching presidential election where 370,000 requests have already been made for a mail-in ballot.

"Obviously vote by mail will be a big part of that," Sartory Link said.

The supervisor also said she is looking at adding drop boxes at election satellite offices and maybe a "pop up, drop off box" that would travel the county.

The non-partisan Common Cause group is encouraging voters to request and return ballots early.

"The sooner you request your mail-in ballot, which you can do today for the November election, they will start mailing out the week of Sept. 24," McClenaghan said.