Early voting starts Wednesday in Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties. Election officials in Pasco say there are already signs this could be a record year for voter turnout.
Pasco County has already broken county records in terms of voter participation in the 2018 General Election, and it could break a few more by the time Election Day comes along.
"There are no words to describe our joy," Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley. "We live for this, quite frankly."
Corley said about half of the mail-in ballots requested for a given election are usually returned to his office. Of the 84,602 ballots Corley’s office sent out, more than 35,000 were returned by Monday.
He said 14 more trays of ballots were received Tuesday, which he estimated could bring them up to 42,000 or 43,000 – or about half -- with two weeks remaining before Election Day.
Corley also said he expects the total vote-by-mail response to surpass that of the 2014 midterm mail-ins.
Former Pasco-Hernando State College political science professor Kevin O'Farrell said one of the reasons behind the response seen in locations like Pasco County is the nationalizing of local elections.
"Just because of the nature of how we receive our news and information, people are much more engaged at a national level," O'Farrell said. "Which then translates into the local, individual choices."
"Generally, pre-Election day has become more prevalent than Election Day, meaning vote-by-mail and early voting, but we saw a very strong Election Day in the primary."
Early voting in Pasco will continue through Saturday, Nov. 3. For information on locations and what you need to bring with you, visit: https://www.pascovotes.com/Elections/Ways-to-Vote/Early-Voting/About-Early-Voting.