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Fla. Absentee Ballots Could Give Romney An Edge

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The state of Florida’s primary is still a little more than two weeks away, but the voting started early and the numbers could give President Barack Obama reason to be concerned.

Florida holds a closed primary, which means only Republicans can vote in the Republican primary and vice-versa.

Still, the state said Tuesday it had mailed out more than 400,000 absentee ballots and just more than 100,000 of them had already been returned.

Given that Mitt Romney has led or been near the top in most Florida polls; the early voting could pay big dividends on election night.

In addition, early voting starts in five counties on Monday, including Monroe County. The rest of the state will hold early voting from January 21-28.

Romney’s campaign has spent roughly $800,000 on TV ads so far, and a super PAC called Restore Our Future, has spent more than $750,000 on ads thus far.

Overall, despite the large number of absentee ballots that have been sent out; the return rate has been slow so far.

Part of the reason may be voters want to make sure the candidate they choose is still in the race after South Carolina.

Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have both struggled in the polls and both could be out of the race if they poll poorly in South Carolina.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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