In an election season defined by partisan vitriol and hate, Danny Burgess tries a little kissing (of his wife Courtney, of course) to woo a voter or two. 

Despite worries nationwide about the voting process in 2020, due to taking place in the middle of a pandemic and concerns raised by President Trump about the validity of mail-in votes, Pasco’s Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said the county’s efforts this past election were about as smooth as could be.

“Overall, it exceeded my wildest expectations,” Corley said. 

Roughly 304,000 votes were cast in Pasco County, including 302,621 votes for president. President Donald Trump received 179,621 votes, or 59.4 percent, while President-elect Joe Biden received 119,073, or 39.4 percent.

Nationally, however, Biden defeated Trump by more than six million votes and in the Electoral College 306-232.

The 304,000 votes cast in Pasco represented 78 percent of the eligible voters, far exceeding 2016’s totals of 244,950 ballots cast and a 73-percent turnout.

Despite the record-setting numbers, Corley said the ability to secure six gymnasiums countywide for early voting and the influx of mail-in votes prevented some of the 3-4 hour long waits in line he feared beforehand.

In fact, only 65,000 votes (21% of all ballots cast) were cast on Nov. 3. Twice that number, 113,000, were cast during early voting, and more than 121,000 were mail-in votes, compared to 68,178 in 2016.

“The mail-in votes were a great safety valve and allowed for the in-person voting to be less crowded,” Corley said.

Corley added that mail-in voting has been growing in popularity since Florida started it in 2002, “but this year it was on steroids because of the pandemic.”

Despite President Trump’s disinformation campaign against mail-in voting (except in Florida, where he said it was okay), Corley thinks the mail-in numbers will only grow in the future.

“It got politicized, and that is very unfortunate,” he said. 

Not surprisingly, Pasco County remained red, as Republican candidates went 9-0 in the vote, including Gus Bilirakis (U.S. Rep., Cong. Dist. 12), Danny Burgess (State Sen. Dist. 20), Randy Maggard (State Rep. Dist. 38), Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning and County Commissioners Jack Mariano and Kathryn Starkey.

For complete Pasco County 2020 General Election results, visit PascoVotes.org. — JCC

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