Florida Republicans narrow voter registration gap with Democrats to historic low

By the numbers: Voter turnout in the Tampa Bay area for the Florida primary
Posted at 10:54 PM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 02:32:28-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Voter registration books are now closed in Florida and the numbers between registered Democrats and Republicans in the state are closer than ever.

Democrats led the Florida voter registration count during the 2016 election when President Donald Trump won the Sunshine State by a narrow margin. This year Republicans managed to close that voter registration gap even more.

ABC Action News Political Analyst Dr. Susan MacManus explains these numbers are not actually a true predictor of an election’s outcome.

“Florida is the battleground state, the biggest swing state, the most up-for-grabs, and the most important,” said Dr. MacManus.

Florida has 29 electoral votes up for grabs in the state President Trump flipped red in 2016 by a mere 112,911 votes.

“It’s gonna be another down-to-the-wire election,” said Dr. MacManus.

Republicans lagged Democrats by 327,483 registered voters in 2016.

The gap shrunk to a mere 134,242 registered voters this year according to the Florida Department of State.

“The problem with just looking at registration figures is that you simply can’t predict turnout from registration figures,” said Dr. MacManus.

Those registered as No Party Affiliation (NPA) in Florida now account for over 3,753,286 registered voters.

“In 2016, the independent voters as we would call them, were split almost right down the middle,” said Dr. MacManus.

Just days ago, Florida election officials made the decision to remove felons with unpaid debts from voting rolls.

“Particularly the Florida Democratic Party is really using that as a rallying cry to voters who really felt strongly that that was not fair, to turn out to vote,” said Dr. MacManus.

Now the question is, could these voters actually make or break an election?

“You can pick any issue, or any narrow slice of Florida and say, 'if 'X' doesn’t happen, that candidate’s going to lose,' because we are the half-percent state," said Dr. MacManus. "The last statewide election, the governor’s race, was decided by less than half of one percent."

There is one thing Florida voters should keep in mind when casting their ballot either by mail, by early voting or by going to their polling place on Election Day.

“If there is ever a year that people wondered if their vote mattered, this is it,” said Dr. MacManus.

For all of the voter information you need to know to cast your ballot in the Tampa Bay area, visit our election guide by clicking here.