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Republicans eke past Democrats in turnout on first day of Florida's early voting

More registered Republicans than Democrats turned out to vote on the first day of early voting in Florida, according to data reviewed by The Washington Post.

The difference wasn't huge, with 43 percent of those showing up to vote being registered Republicans compared to 42 percent who were registered Democrats. The remaining voters in the group of 339,152 people who cast in-person votes on Monday were registered with a third party or were unaffiliated. 

Turnout on the first day of early voting in the critical swing state was up nearly 17 percent compared to four years ago when roughly 290,000 cast ballots, the Florida Department of State reported.

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President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE are hotly contesting the state, which Trump won four years ago. Polls show a tight race. 

Vote-by-mail has seen a massive uptick in popularity this year, with more than 2.5 million ballots collected on the first day of early voting. There are more than 14 million registered voters in the state in total. 

An Axios survey released last month showed 75 percent of respondents who strongly disapprove of the president's job performance are likely to vote early by mail.

The risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic have swayed many voters to submit their ballots remotely or via designated drop boxes, as over 22 million votes have already been cast this year across the nation.

Last week, Florida's Division of Elections reported that Democrats were leading in early voting, though it noted more Republicans are largely expected to vote on or around the days leading up to Nov. 3.

Trump won Florida by fewer than 120,000 votes in 2016. The Post noted that several counties that favored the president four years ago, including Clearwater, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Duval and Seminole, showed higher turnouts of Democratic voters Monday.

Other states in the South are setting records for absentee voting, with Alabama receiving over 3 percent more mail-in ballots cast than the previous record set during the 2012 election.

Georgia elections officials also reported landmark early voting turnouts Monday, with 126,876 ballots cast ahead of Election Day, nearly 41 percent more than the previous record set.