GOPers have used the “big lie” to gum up the works so much that they passed SB 90 in 2021, a piece of legislation that effectively discriminates against older voters and minority communities by allowing partisan observers to challenge signatures on VBM ballots.
What we’re seeing today in Florida across the state, as voters are voting, is an unprecedented effort to lower turnout by cherry-picking whose vote will count: Republican operatives at the county-level are authorized by law to challenge ballot signatures at their local Supervisors of Elections offices, after the ballots are cast and mailed back. Yes, the voters who are questioned will be given a chance to “cure” their ballots, but as we know the closer we get to November 8, the more difficult that becomes. And Democrats are underfunded in this state and undermanned as well in terms of fighting this effort from the GOP.
This insidious approach to throwing out legal ballots is targeting majority-Democratic precincts across the state be it Jewish condos or African-American communities by RPOF and local Republican affiliates, emboldened by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “election integrity/security” efforts. Secretary of State Cord Byrd appears to have a great number of SOE’s across the state, be they GOPers, Democrats or NPA’s singing from his song sheet. Be afraid, very afraid.
Yesterday, our Kartik Krishnaiyer had a piece published in The New Republic regarding Charlie Crist’s unenviable situation in the governor’s race. However, it should be noted, Crist is making the best effort he can to pivot forward, despite Hurricane Ian handing DeSantis days of free media.
This past Monday, the Crist campaign closed out a 17 city “Together Florida Bus Tour.” The tour was a pivot in the campaign to address the Hurricane by visiting cities across the state and collecting supplies and aid for the relief efforts. Governor Crist joined the campaign bus on Friday October 7th in St. Petersburg and spent weekend visiting different cities and collecting additional supplies and focusing on getting donations to minority communities in Daytona Beach, DeLand and Fort Myers who have been overlooked in the official state relief efforts.
Crist has also pivoted to an emphasis on choice given DeSantis’ radicalized views on reproductive freedom and the current governor’s unwillingness to answer questions about what he would do next legislative session in the wake of the Briggs decision.
VBM numbers thus far in the state indicate a slight GOP lean – but let’s caution that Lee and Collier counties, the most GOP-friendly larger counties in the state (Pasco would like a word, but we put them third) are offline for the foreseeable future and increasingly GOP friendly Sarasota (thanks to growing Northport) has been badly impacted by Ian as well. So the GOP could win in a rout, correct?
Well, maybe not. Orange County just mailed ballots the other day, and Broward’s ballots were mailed a week late due to Ian. And Democrats are doing significantly better than expected in Palm Beach County thus far.
So it’s too early to tell where this is going, and hard to determine whether or not Ian is directly responsible for the low-return rate on already mailed ballots, in addition to the obviously storm-inflicted delays on mailing VBM’s.
NOTE: While Lee County is the most GOP-oriented of Florida’s ten largest counties, the VBM vote was basically 50-50 in 2020 D/R.