PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The 2020 election enticed a surge of voters to cast a ballot, breaking records across the United States, Florida and many parts of Tampa Bay.
While ballots are still being counted, the U.S. is on track to see its highest voter turn out since 1908.
In Pinellas County, 79% of registered voters cast a ballot fueled by high interest in either candidate, a tight race and even the pandemic. That’s 2% more than the amount who voted in 2016.
People also had more ways to vote than ever before: by mail, filling out a ballot and dropping it off at dozens of locations, voting early and traditional election day voting.
Political experts also say voters had more time to research and plan out how they would vote because of the pandemic.
“For a while, the people were sort of trapped in their homes and looking for entertainment and believe me the world of politics was very entertaining this time,” Dr. Susan McManus explained.
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Pinellas County also smashed previous records for the number of people registering to vote, which election leaders hope that will lead to robust turnout in future elections, as well.
Nearly twice as many people voted by mail in Pinellas County versus those who cast a ballot early or in person.
Political experts also say the interest grew as voters learned it would be a tight race…and every vote would matter.
That was absolutely the case in Pinellas County where voters favored Joe Biden over President Donald Trump by just over 1,200 votes.
Dustin Chase, the Deputy Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, says that’s significant.
“It is incredibly close when you consider that that is less than 1% of the 711,000 people eligible to participate in the election. If more people would have turned out from one direction or another, it could have easily gone to another candidate,” he explained.
Pinellas County voters also have a talent for picking the winning presidential candidate. It’s a track record they’ve held for all but one election in the past 44 years!
Of course, all eyes are on the tight presidential race to find out if Pinellas County will continue that streak in this election.