Neither the coronavirus nor hype around vote-by-mail appears to be slowing down energized Florida voters. As of this morning, over 2.2 million mail-in ballots have been counted statewide, nearly double the amount of the 2016 primary. In a fascinating turn of events, the virus may be upending historic partisan early voting trends with Democrats and Republicans flip-flopping from just four years ago. These surprising trends are forcing politicos and candidates to closely watch Tuesday’s results and determine the potential long term ramifications on Florida elections. For example, let’s look at Miami-Dade. Democrats have built a 15 point pre-Election Day advantage. Republicans, who traditionally dominate mail ballots, have taken the lead in casting more vote’s in-person than Democrats heading into Sunday according to information from the state and Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections. But Democrats, who shined in turning out early in-person votes, are voting my mail this cycle in unprecedented numbers. Also, independents in Miami are much more engaged this year with their turnout double what it was in 2016. In Orange County, a Democratic stronghold, vote-by-mail has increased from 86,000 before the 2016 primary election to 140,000 in 2020. We will be watching election results closely to see what these new developments mean and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your favorite Southern team member.
You think Florida is hot?
No, Death Valley is hot. On Sunday, the temperature hit 130 degrees, the hottest recorded temperature there since 1913, and perhaps the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded in the world. The weather experienced in Death Valley is part of a heat dome covering the West and currently causing wildfires in California. Is this temperature a one-off or the sign of a larger sustained pattern? In the US, the most recent decade (2000-2010) was the nation’s warmest on record. Record-breaking high temperatures are now outnumbering record lows by an average decadal ratio of 2:1, and in the past 12 months that average is 1.64:1.
Lowering barriers to nursing home visits.
AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew suggested that the Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities recommend to the Governor that mandatory testing for visitors not be a requirement of the guidelines for reopening visitation. Instead, the symptom-based approach established by the CDC that hospitals are now following for purposes of discharging residents back to nursing homes and long-term care facilities should be followed. She also recommended broad support and minimum restriction to essential and compassionate caregivers. As part of his push for Floridians to be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, Governor DeSantis has assembled a group of health care experts to work together to find a safe way to make that happen. Residents have been physically cut off from their friends and families since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Task Force member Mary Daniel shared her hardship as an essential caregiver cut off from contact with her husband, an Alzheimer’s patient. She volunteers as a dishwasher at the long-term care facility where he is a resident so she can continue to interact with him. Secretary Mayhew said the Task Force plans to finalize a broad framework for facilities to follow at its next meeting, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.