MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of thousands in South Florida have cast ballots, in person and by mail.

“Every so often, we get an election in which the outcome shapes the nature of government for the next generation,” Nova Southeastern University election expert Charles Zelden said.

Zeldon explained why there’s a high turnout already. He said this election reminds him of Ronald Reagan versus Jimmy Carter.

“The two candidates are clearly different. They stand for different approaches. The last time we had an election like this was 1980,” he said.

RELATED: Campaign 2020 Voters Guide

Fast forward to 2020, election leaders and law enforcement are also working to keep confidence in the voting process.

Thursday, the Miami-Dade Police Homeland Security Bureau confirmed an investigation into a letter reported by a Kendall homeowner. It’s directed toward a Trump supporter and said if the president doesn’t concede, make sure they have fire damage coverage on their home. Also to prepare for civil war. No word if this is credible and who’s responsible.

Also Thursday, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a man for disorderly conduct at an early voting site. They said he vandalized signs and yelled racial slurs at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Deputies are recommending the man appear in mental health court.

Florida election leaders are working to ease concerns after some received threatening email messages. The FBI also said voter registration data has been obtained by Iran and Russia.

In a statement sent to CBS4 Thursday, the Florida Department of State said, in part:

“There has been no breach to Florida’s Voter Registration database.” It went on to say “while public voting files contain voting history, it does not include any information that discloses how a voter voted in any contest.”

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Since millions have already voted, even before Thursday’s final debate, CBS4’s Ty Russell asked Zelden whether the major events informing voters may change down the road.

“If you leave the debates too late, by that point too many people have voted. If you make it too early, a lot of us aren’t simply paying attention. So, it’s a balancing act,” the election expert said.

The Miami-Dade Elections Department said it has partnership in place with Miami-Dade PD to patrol areas near early voting sites. There are guidelines in place for them to quickly respond if there’s an issue.

Click here for Miami-Dade’s elections security page and fact sheet.

Ty Russell

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