More than 26,000 people have voted early in counties where the option is already available, while nearly 700,000 have returned vote-by-mail ballots, according to numbers posted Wednesday morning by the Florida Division of Elections.

Early voting has started in 18 of the 67 counties. Of the 26,318 people who had voted early, 13,340 were Democrats and 11,288 were Republicans. The rest of the people going to early-voting sites were registered without party affiliation or with third parties.

Counties were allowed to begin early voting Monday, and all counties are required to offer it starting Saturday.

Early voting will continue through next week in advance of the Aug. 28 primary elections.

Counties that started offering early voting Monday included Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

Among voters mailing in ballots, Republicans had returned 319,532 ballots, while Democrats had returned 268,802 as of early Wednesday.

Nearly 94,000 ballots had been returned by other voters. That state has 13 million registered voters for the primary.

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