MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a busy day around Miami-Dade as election department workers set up 866 polling places around the county for Election Day.
“We are ready. Today, we are going to be setting up all our precincts. Our poll workers have been trained. Our equipment tested. We’re ready to open our doors tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.,” said Supervisor of Elections Christina White.
After two weeks of in-person early voting and voting by mail, more than a million people have already cast ballots in Miami-Dade. When it’s all said and done, election officials expect a record 80% of all registered voters in Miami-Dade to cast a ballot.
“We’re looking forward to a couple hundred thousand people coming out tomorrow,” said White.
On Monday, the only type of voting going on was last minute vote-by-mail ballots being dropped off. There are still more than 180,000 that have not been returned. Vote-by-mail ballots must be at the county’s election office by 7 p.m. for them to count.
On Monday and Tuesday, they can be hand-delivered to four locations in Miami-Dade. The Elections Department’s main office at 2700 NW 87th Avenue in Doral, the Stephen P. Clark Center at 111 NW 1st Street in Miami, the North Dade Regional Library at 2455 NW 183rd Street in Miami Gardens, and the South Dade Regional Library at 10750 SW 211th Street in Cutler Bay.
All four of the locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“The earlier the better. The earlier that we get the vote-by-mail ballots in, the sooner we can release results,” said White.
Those million-plus ballots that were cast so far are already being counted. We should be seeing those results early Tuesday night, shortly after the polls close.
“All eyes are on Miami-Dade County to see what our overall turnout is and to see how close Trump can get to Biden here,” Sean Foreman, a professor of Political Science at Barry University.
Foreman points out Florida voters normally choose their winner by a razor-thin margin. That makes turnout key in the state’s most populous county.
“We expect Biden to win Miami-Dade County. The issue is by how much. If Trump can keep it closer in Miami-Dade he has a better chance of winning Florida overall. And we know Donald Trump needs to win Florida to win the presidency,” he said.
More than a million voters have cast their ballots in Miami-Dade. A total of more than 400,000 Democrats have voted, compared to more than 300,000 Republicans who have already made a choice.
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However, while Miami-Dade Democrats have pulled ahead of Republicans, the African-American vote has been lagging.
Election officials said on Sunday there was a weak turnout at the “Souls to the Polls,” event. About 35,000 votes were cast on Sunday, Compared to 53 thousand back in the year of 2016. There was a 33% decline.
“It’s a general trend in the black community. That a lot of black folks vote on election day. I think one thing that is not being talked about people are forgetting that those without party affiliation are trending towards Biden,” said Steve Simeonidis, chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
However, the chairman of the Republican Party in Miami Dade said that is not the case.
“The lack of African-American votes shows that there is a very small amount of energy in that community for Joe Biden. They just don’t trust him and for good reasons, He called them predators,” said Nelson Diaz.
Former State Sen. Chris Smith said the Black voter turnout is not alarming since many black churches have been closed.
“When the principals come down in the room, we are being the adults. We are staying healthy and not being in massive crowds. I think we will see a large turnout tomorrow,” said Smith.