Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - Polls in the Sunshine State don't open until 7 a.m. ET Tuesday, but more than 600,000 people have already voted in Florida's Republican presidential primary.
Early voting began statewide nine days ago, and according to figures released Monday afternoon by the Florida Department of State, which runs the division of elections, 293,760 people have already cast ballots.
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But wait, there's more. According to the state, more than 531,000 people have requested and were sent absentee ballots, and 338,753 have been returned and received by Florida officials.
Add it all together and more than 632,000 votes have already been cast before primary day. To put it in perspective, that's more than the 601,577 who voted in the South Carolina primary, and far outpaces the combined 360,000 that took part in the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.
It appears the early votes may be helping former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by double digits in the most recent polls of people likely to vote in the Florida primary. According to an American Research Group survey released Sunday, 36% of people questioned said they already voted, and among those, Romney led Gingrich 51% to 33%.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Romney captured half of the early absentee votes, because he has a campaign machine to produce them and none of his rivals for the GOP nomination can match him," Alex Castellanos, a GOP strategist and CNN contributor, said last week.
"It may mean that Mitt Romney gets an extra quarter to play for that Gingrich won't, that Romney's won the fifth quarter," added Castellanos, who was a top media adviser for Romney's 2008 nomination bid but who is not taking sides this cycle.
At stake in Tuesday's primary: 50 delegates, the biggest catch so far. And it's winner take all in Florida.
Overall, nearly 1.95 million people voted in the 2008 Florida GOP primary. There are currently more than four million registered Republicans in Florida, according to state officials.
- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN