TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — More than 4.3 million vote-by-mail ballots have been sent to voters in Florida as the countdown to Election Day draws closer.

Florida Democrats are building a substantial lead in vote-by-mail requests for November’s presidential election. The Florida secretary of state’s office shows that nearly 1.9 million Democrats have requested a vote-by-mail ballot, compared with nearly 1.4 million Republicans. More than one million ballots have gone out to voters with no party and other affiliations.

Of those ballots already sent out, more than 1.1 million have already been returned; more than 612-thousand by Democrats and nearly 338-thousand by Republicans.

In Miami-Dade County, more than 563-thousand ballots have been mailed out.  Over 253-thousand have been sent to Democrats and 148-thousand to Republicans.  Out of those sent out, more than 22-thousand Democrats have returned them and more than 10-thousand Republicans have returned theirs. The total returned in Miami-Dade is more than 43-thousand.

In Broward County, nearly 440-thousand ballots have been requested; 246-thousand by Democrats and 81-thousand by Republicans.  68-thousand Democrats have already returned their vote-by-mail ballots and 17-thousand Republicans have returned theirs in Broward. The total returned in Broward is more than 107-thousand.

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The number of people voting by mail this year has dramatically increased, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Democratic Party officials say the gap shows its voters are enthused to vote for Joe Biden. Republican officials say they aren’t worried, that their voters will show up in person at the polls. Political analysts say the Democrats still need to get supporters to return the ballots.

Saturday, October 24 is the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

Request a ballot through your county supervisor of Elections website.  Immediate family members or guardians can request a ballot for someone else. A voter’s signature is required and must match the signature on file.

Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by your county supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

With its 29 electoral votes, Florida is crucial to both candidates but especially so for Trump, who moved his official residence to his Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago from New York last year. A Florida loss would make it nearly impossible for Trump to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to retain the White House.

No Republican has lost Florida and won the presidency since Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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