After just two days of early voting, more Democrats have now cast ballots than Republicans in Florida with 1.9 million ballots cast
Democrats overtake Republicans in total ballots cast four days faster than in 2008.
Submitted By Eric Jotkoff
After two days of Early Voting in Florida, Democrats have now cast more ballots in the Sunshine State than Republicans, wiping out Republicans’ lead from Vote by Mail, which took six days of Early Voting in 2008 to accomplish. Over the past two years, Obama for America-Florida (OFA-FL) has quietly been building the largest ground game in Florida history, with an army of volunteers working every day to reelect President Obama. Working out of 106 OFA-FL offices in every corner of the state, volunteers have provided a strong foundation and huge enthusiasm for President Obama.
Vote by Mail: OFA-FL has dramatically cut the historic Republican advantage in Florida, thanks to volunteers going door-to-door signing up President Obama’s supporters to vote by mail. Not only have Democrats cut the 2008 GOP absentee ballot request margin by 87 percent, Democrats have also slashed the 2008 GOP partisan advantage in returned ballots by well over 50 percent. At this point in 2008, Republicans lead vote by mail by +246,619 requests, but now they only have a +40,135 lead.
Early Voting (EV): On the first two days of Early Voting, over 500,000 Floridians turned out to vote, where Democrats opened up a 78,335 person turn-out advantage as a record number of Floridians turned out to Early Vote for President Obama.
While changes to the number of Early Vote days available to Floridians make it impossible to accurately compare overall turnout to that of 2008, Florida has seen record turnout over the first two days of Early Voting.
Highlights after two days of Early Voting:
· After two days of EV, 28,516 more Democrats than Republicans Early Voted in Broward.
· In Alachua County, home to the University of Gainesville, 63 percent of Early Voters were Democrats.
· In Brevard County, a Republican stronghold, 1,061 more Democrats Early Voted than Republicans, giving Democrats a 10 percent advantage.
· In Duval County, Democrats opened up turnout advantage of 8,299 people with Early Voting after two days.
· In Miami-Dade County, 29,763 Democrats Early Voted while just 11,350 Republicans turned out.
· In Orange County, of the 24,934 voters who Early Voted, 14,146 of them are Democrats
· In St. Lucie County, 58 percent of the residents who voted early were Democrats.
Voter Registration: Over the past year, volunteers registered hundreds of thousands of Floridians to vote, as OFA-FL over-saw the largest voter registration drive in Florida history.
· The number of registered Hispanics has increased by more than 300,000 since November 2008, and only 31,000 registered as Republicans. This means that just 10 percent of the increase in Hispanic registrations was accounted for by Republicans. The other 90 percent accrued to Democrats and independents.
The African-American, Caribbean-American and His-panic registered voter population increased by more than 450,000. To put this number in perspective, note that in 2008, Barack Obama won Florida by 236,450 votes (2.8 percentage points).
Lewis was instrumental in securing a list from the state of people with felony convictions who are eligible to have their voting privileges restored. She told me she still continues to help people with that, even unfortunately those who’ve received conflicting voting eligibility information from the county and state, whose voting records are still out of sync.
Despite those problems, she’s seen nothing but long lines of early voters since Saturday, when lines wrapped all around the Andrews Library. Local news outlets have reported no problems so far, and the Hills-borough County election super-visor’s office tells me they received no complaints.
There were a few hiccups Sunday, with strange poll watchers—some authorized, some not—showing up at the Souls’ Polls site trying to cause problems. One watcher tried to challenge a voter over her acceptance of fried fish. Stories vary on what happened, but according to Lewis, a poll watcher—a white woman in a sea of Black voters—reported to poll judges that a woman headed to the voting line was bribed with a fish sandwich to vote for Obama.
Another poll watcher, described by Lewis as being a Re-publican Party–appointed watcher, asked poll judges if they “could stop or slow down” the number of voters entering the library because it was getting crowded. Then one poll watcher tried to interrogate an 11-year-old girl about what all the fish serving and gospel music playing was about. In every case, the watcher was confronted by lawyers from the Election Protection team who were at the site in full force, dozens of lawyers, authorized poll watchers and volunteers from the NAACP, SEIU, Obama for America campaign and the Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus. The voters were barely disrupted.
Janee Murphy, the mother of the 11-year-old who one of the Republican poll watchers rolled up on, said media accounts about voter intimidation under-estimated the resilience of Black voters.
“We are a lot smarter than they think we are,” said Murphy, former chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party. “While I do agree with the fact that we need to protect our right to vote, early vote and vote on Sundays, it’s not just about early voting for us. What is also important to us is to make sure that when we show up and we get in there to vote, that there are enough machines for us, and making sure we know where to vote, and how to go down a ballot. That’s all called GOTV, and where’d that originate? GOTV came from us.”
It was clear that GOTV organizing was bearing fruit and that any threats of intimidation were immediately diffused.
News reports from other areas like Ohio also showed no intimidation in play, but erroneously concluded that was because it was never a problem to begin with. That’s a silly if not naive interpretation. If intimidation isn’t showing its face, it’s because a legion of voting rights reporters exposed the plans and intentions of ballot bullies and voter harassment artists like True the Vote and their tea party affiliates. More importantly having dense teams of Election Protection lawyers on the grounds also have been a huge deterrent. So the point is not that voter intimidation isn’t a threat; the point is that civil rights advocates have organized to make the would-be intimidators look like nobodies.