Vote by mail needs help

(Since this was written, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker extended the close of voter registration in Florida a second time, until Tuesday, October 18. The Broward County Supervisor of Elections will accept voter registrations until 5:00 pm, Tuesday, October 18, at 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room 102, Fort Lauderdale and at 1501 NW 40th Avenue, Lauderhill.  There is a disappearing drop-down banner on the Supervisor’s web site http://browardsoe.org One way to adapt to this change is to continue helping voters request vote-by-mail ballots while being alert to prospective new voters who would like to get registered.)

On November 6, 2012, voter turnout in Broward was only 66.8%. More than 378,000 voters, including many Democrats, did not vote. The main campaign goal for Hillary Clinton and all of us is to earn Florida’s 29 electoral votes by ramping up Democratic voter turnout. Democrats vote generally for Democrats. And Broward County has more Democrats than any other Florida County. The one thing that will make the most positive impact for Hillary to get elected as President, and with a large mandate, is to encourage Democrats who skipped voting in 2012 to vote in 2016. It’s simple. And Broward is the key. We are the key.

For this reason, I pay close attention to vote-by-mail requests by Democrats. Some primary voting Democrats may even think that their past absentee requests carry over to different elections. That’s not necessarily true. It depends on the type of original vote-by-mail request that was made and how far back it was. They get termed out.

The quickest remedy is for everyone to check their vote-by-mail status at http://browardsoe.org by clicking “My Status” in the red bar at top. Voters can also quickly request their vote-by-mail ballot at that web site or call 954-357-7050 and there will be automatic message asking for the voter’s information. Remind people that postage is now free.

How are we doing?

For the August 30, 2016 primary, Democrats did very well. Now, I’m not so sure. Today’s accumulated vote-by-mail requests by Democrats in Broward County are only 111,961. This number needs to be much larger, both to reflect the background increase and to cover the small attrition of vote-by-mail ballots that do not not get turned in.

In the last 18 days, the increase was 13,286 compared with only 3,648 for Republicans. While that’s encouraging, it’s still not enough. With the close of voter registration, now extended by a Federal Judge to October 12, if there is one last thing that is most important, it’s to get every Democrat out to vote and vote-by-mail is our best tool. Transportation is not required. Postage is not required. Weather is never a problem. And there are no voter lines.

In the 2012 general election, President Obama received 105,966 vote-by-mail votes. Considering that not all vote-by-mail ballots are turned in, we have a great opportunity to do more. Find the voters who skipped November 2012, and who have not yet requested vote-by-mail for this election. Sign them up.

How to

My procedure is to only go to Democratic-friendly houses. If it’s a mixed house with Republicans and Independents, I’m very careful, and often avoid those houses, even if there may be a Democratic voter.

I wear something Democratic or something with Hillary’s name, and identify myself clearly as a Democrat. I typically introduce myself and say that I am looking for Hillary Clinton voters. If I get any push back, and I do sometimes, even from Democrats, I smile, thank them, and go to the next house. Little damage done.

However, if the person who comes to the door is friendly, and most are, I then ask for the targeted voter, the person who my list shows did not vote in 2012. At that point, every situation is different, depending on whether the person I am looking for is in the house. If it’s a child away in college, who has a stable mailing address, the parent can ask the child if they want to vote-by-mail.