How has Florida’s electorate changed since the 2016 presidential election?
An examination of voter registration data in the election book closing reports for the 2016 and 2020 General elections shows Florida now has 14,441,869 registered voters. That’s a 12% increase over 2016, when there were 12,863,773. There now are 5,303,254 registered Democrats, 5,169,012 registered Republicans, and 3,919,603 others.
Republicans increased their party’s voter registration rolls by 618,000. Democrats added 426,000. The combined rolls of independent voters and those in third parties increased by 534,000. The Democrats’ portion of Florida’s electorate shrank to 37% while Republicans’ grew to 36%. In 2016 Democrats’ advantage was 38% to 35%.
Statewide racial breakdowns:
The voter registration data compiled and posted by the Florida Division of Elections for book closings for the 2016 and 2020 General Elections detail the declared race and ethnicity of voters by party and by county. The answers are self-definitions, and voters may decline to answer that question.
• Statewide, 61% of Florida’s 2020 voters said they are white. That’s down from 64% in 2016. Another 13% identified as Black. That’s unchanged. Another 17% identified as Hispanic, up from 16% in 2016. Another 2% said Asian American or Pacific Islander, and less than 1% said Native American. Those are unchanged. The rest of 2020 General Election voters said multiracial, other, or declined to answer the question.
• Hispanic voters most significantly increased their clout in Florida’s electorate since the 2016 General Election. The greatest increase of Hispanic voters came as independent or minor party voters. Beyond that, Democrats signed up more than did Republicans. There are 475,000 more Hispanic voters this year than there were in 2016. The independent rolls increased by about 201,000, Democrats by 149,000, and Republicans by 126,000.
• Hispanic voters now make up 18% of the Democratic Party’s voter rolls, up from 16% in 2016. They make up 12% of the Republican Party’s rolls, up from 11%.
— Florida has 215,000 more Black voters this year than in 2016. Almost all of that increase came as Democrats or independent voters. The Democrats’ rolls increased by 133,000 Black voters. Republicans increased statewide by just 8,000 Black voters.
• Today Black voters make up about the same proportions of the major parties they did in 2016. They constitute 29% of the Democratic Party’s base. They make up just over 1% of the Republican Party statewide voter registration rolls.
• Florida has 611,000 more white voters now than in 2016. Most of the increase went to Republicans. Democrats increased their registration by 41,000 more White voters. Republicans increased 10 times as much, by 417,269.
Now White voters make up about 46% of the Democratic Party, down from 49% in 2016. White voters make up 81% of the Republican Party, down from 83%.
Red, blue, or purple counties:
• Among counties with at least 50,000 registered voters, the reddest is Walton County, where Republicans now hold more than a 42 percentage-point advantage over Democrats in voter registration, 61% to 18%. Other very red counties include Santa Rosa County, where Republicans hold a 40-point advantage; Nassau County, 37 points; Okaloosa County, 37 points; Sumter County, 33 points, Clay County, 32 points; and Bay, County, 30 points.
• The bluest county with at least 50,000 registered voters is Broward, where Democrats hold a 29 percentage-point advantage. Other deep-blue counties include Leon County, where Democrats hold a 27-point lead over Republicans; Alachua County, 22 points; Osceola County, 19 points; Orange County, 18 points; Palm Beach County, 13 points; and Miami-Dade County, 13 points.