Early voting in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary starts this weekend. It’s not Super Tuesday but it’s still kind of super.

Early in-person voting in Florida starts Saturday and I’ll be there.


I’m bad with forms and following written instructions of any kind. This means I distrust vote-by-mail. My son’s vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected or challenged multiple times (signature problems) and I don’t know that I’d do any better.


But in person? You can vote on your own schedule, avoid lines if you time it right (super-voter tip: late mornings on weekdays or early afternoons) and know right away if there are bureaucratic problems.


As a lightly organized person who juggles a lot of life stuff, it’s hard for me to know ahead of time what I’ll be doing Election Day. Which is why I’ve been voting early, but in-person, since 2004, the first Florida election that allowed it. Which is why I recommend it to anyone who must be at the office on Tuesdays and has responsibilities.


The Volusia County Elections Office has taken the welcome step of adding an early voting location in Port Orange to bring the total to six. Go online at the Volusia Elections Office website at http://www.volusiaelections.org/EarlyVoting/hoursandlocations.htm if you need to know where they are. Flagler has three sites. Find them at https://www.flaglerelections.com/Election-Info/2020-Presidential-Preference-Primary.


As of Thursday, 13,346 Volusia County Democrats already voted by mail in their hotly contested presidential primary and 23,067 Republicans have voted in their barely contested primary. (How will Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente do against President Donald Trump? Can’t wait to see.) Similarly, Flagler County only received 2,106 Democratic mail-in ballots compared with 4,169 Republican ballots.


These numbers mirror statewide figures where, as of Thursday, only 35% of Democrats have returned the ballots they requested compared with 55% of Republicans.


Democratic voters clearly have been waiting to see what happens before slipping their ballots into the mailbox. (And signing them, too. Don’t forget that!)


Smart move holding on to those ballots, Democrats! As of now, 13 of the 16 names printed on the Democratic primary ballot no longer are in the race. This means the Florida Presidential Primary will be a runoff between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. (Yes, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard still is in the race but she’s unlikely to meet the 15% vote threshold needed to provide company for her two delegates from American Samoa.)


Other states with earlier contests narrowed the field for us surprisingly fast. Which is what earlier state primaries are supposed to do.


In 2007, Florida tried, tried real hard, to join those earlier states. Urged on by then-Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who even back then was extremely interested in how presidential primaries are run, the Legislature shifted the Florida primary to January.


Strangely, the rest of the nation and the leadership of both major parties did not want the Florida Man vote to determine the leader of the free world. Imagine that.


The theory advanced in the Legislature was that this would work despite the rules of both major parties because the Florida vote would be too big to ignore or risk alienating.


But it turns out it wasn’t. And Florida got back in line in 2016.


But strangely, because Florida’s March 17 presidential primary is late in the game, well after Super Tuesday, this year’s Florida’s primary could matter. With 248 people in its convention delegation – 219 of whom will be pledged to candidates according to their share of the primary vote – Florida could make a difference in the delegate count. All the fun isn’t over.


So I’ll show up at Ormond Beach Regional Library on the weekend. And I won’t let Bike Week stop me.