One interesting trend, however, is not just who wins but who wins the portion of the votes cast via Absentee Ballot, Early Voting, and on Election Day.
Absentee ballots have largely been thought of to be a source of strength for the Republican candidates statewide, but the numbers in the November 2014 elections in Sarasota may show the opposite trend locally. In all of the most hotly contested countywide races, the Democratic candidate won the absentee ballot vote. In some of the other races, even where the Republican candidate won by a solid amount, the Democrat did much better and even won the absentee ballot vote in one case. We won’t know the breakdown of how many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents actually voted until about 30 days after the election – for now we just know the vote totals.
Conversely, Republicans won the Early Vote in all of these races and won the Election Day vote by the most outsized margins.
In the Governor’s race, Charlie Crist actually received 27,265 Absentee votes to Scott’s 24,516.
In the hotly contested School Board race between Ken Marsh (Democrat) and Bridget Ziegler (Republican), Marsh received 23,985 Absentee ballot votes to Ziegler’s 21,653 votes.
You can see this pattern in the less hotly contested countywide races. In the Charter Review Board race, Republican Joe Justice won overall with 54% to Jennifer Cohen’s 46%. But Cohen (24,759) received slightly more Absentee votes than Justice (24,210).
Even in the County Commission race between Republican Alan Maio and Democrat Ray Porter, where Maio won a decisive victory, Porter did much better in the Absentee portion of the vote than in the Early Votes or Election Day votes.