Sarasota County records highest General Election turnout since 2008, based on unofficial results

Presidential race had biggest ballot total, with 639 people writing in names

This is the unofficial breakdown of votes cast during the Nov. 3 General Election in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

Although Sarasota County voters did not set a new turnout record on Nov. 3, the unofficial mark of 79.83% nonetheless surpassed the 77.32% participation level for the 2016 General Election, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner and his staff have reported.

The turnout this week is the highest it has been in a general election in Sarasota County since 2008, according to a Sarasota News Leader review of the unofficial data on the Supervisor of Elections Office website. That year, 80.07% was the final figure.

For the 2018 General Election, without a presidential contest, the turnout was 66.97%, according to Supervisor of Elections Office records.

In 2012, when President Barack Obama was running for re-election, voter participation hit the 75.21% mark, the records note.

The largest number of votes cast in the county for the Nov. 3 General Election were in the Presidential contest. President Donald Trump won 54.71% of the total, with former Vice President Joe Biden taking 44.3%.

These are the unofficial results of the Presidential election in Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office

Five minor party candidates collected several hundred votes, the unofficial report shows, and 639 voters wrote in other names.

In response to a Sarasota News Leader question, Rachel Denton, the communications and voter outreach manager for the Supervisor of Elections Office, reported in a Nov. 5 email that staff had not gone through all the write-ins as of that point. However, she added, “[W]e do recall seeing [rapper] Kanye West and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci as two write-ins thus far.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci. Image courtesy National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a prominent spokesman on issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. West launched a campaign for president this year. According to The Hill, West received about 60,000 votes across the country.

Altogether, the total votes cast in Sarasota County in the Presidential race added up to 270,656, the unofficial report notes.

The second-highest number of ballots cast came in the race for the Florida Senate District 23 seat: 261,732. Incumbent Sen. Joe Gruters of Sarasota captured 56.3% of the total, with Democratic challenger Katherine Norman of Sarasota taking 41.58%, and Robert Kaplan, who had no party affiliation, winning 2.12%, the unofficial report says.

The third-highest tally came in the contest for state attorney for the 12th Judicial District. Republican incumbent Ed Brodsky easily defeated Democrat Betsy Young of Lakewood Ranch, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. Brodsky won 57.1% of the 260,894 votes cast. He first was sworn in as state attorney on Jan. 8, 2013, his 12th Judicial Circuit biography notes.