Looks Like Our Votes Were Not Counted

My wife and I requested vote by mail ballots — then, just to be sure, delivered them in person to an early voting location rather than trusting the mail. We should be able to confirm that they have been counted on the “status of my vote” screen of the Supervisor of Elections office website (if you haven’t checked, do it now).

We entrusted our ballots to SOE staff on Oct. 28., but as of today they still  show as “received” — not tabulated, and not rejected.

(Update: On Friday, the status finally changed to tabulated.)

General election vote not counted

Yes, we were careful to sign and date the envelope, as required.

For comparison, you can see the tabulated line on my vote for the primary election.

Primary vote counted

Is it possible this is a website glitch and has nothing to do whether my vote is actually recorded? Sure, anything is possible, but the whole point of this website feature is to provide transparency and confidence in the election system.

After several days of obsessively checking this page of the website, Beth Anne went to the SOE office in Lauderdale in person. That’s after several phone calls weren’t returned. After taking her license, they said her vote had indeed been counted but that it “takes a couple of days” for that information to be reflected on the website.

A couple of days? We turned in our ballots on Oct. 28. Their system shows them as received on Oct. 30 — 9 days ago.

Yes, I know there are lots of other issues with provisional ballots and college students who requested but never received a vote by mail ballot. But we got our ballots, filled them out carefully, then hand delivered them — and still don’t know whether to trust that they were really counted.

Vote! Then Get Out the Vote!

The first thing every patriotic Democrat must do is vote! Early voting is still going on today until 7 pm in Broward County, with Tuesday coming up fast. Then do whatever you can to get everyone you know (and anyone else who will listen) out to vote.

How to vote? At the top of the ticket, that’s pretty simple. Since the Republicans for governor and senate are so closely aligned with Trump, you must vote for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson — and Democrats on down the ticket. For guidance on other races and amendment questions that can be more confusing, see my roundup of recommendations and comparison of recommendations on the amendments and the judicial races (from friends as well as the newspaper editorial boards).

Florida Amendments and Judicial Races: Summary of Voting Recommendations

This is a summary of how things add up when I compare recommendations on the 2018 Florida Constitutional Amendments, which is how we do ballot initiatives in this state. See also my roundup of voting recommendations from the Broward Democratic Party and various friends of BlueBroward, which includes links to several more detailed documents. I also included the recommendations from the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel newspapers.

I simply counted up the number of recommendations for and against each of these measures. I did the same for the nonpartisan judicial races. All of these experts agree you should vote yes on retention of the Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges whose continued service is up for approval.

In addition, most of the recommendations I’ve seen favor the Broward County question on transportation and YES on all the charter revision recommendations. Exception: Alan Ehrlich said no to the transportation question and Lori Gold said no to a couple of the charter revision questions (#4 and #5).

Compiling this list was part of my own preparations before completing my vote by mail ballot, which has been sitting on the kitchen table for a couple of weeks now. Voting for Andrew Gillum is a clear choice, as are most of the other partisan races, but making smart choices about the amendments and the judges is “phone a friend” time for me.

Continue reading “Florida Amendments and Judicial Races: Summary of Voting Recommendations”

Resources for Early Voting (Starts Monday)

Roundup of Ballot Recommendations

Here are the locations, based on this PDF from the Supervisor of Elections.

OCTOBER 22, 2018 thru NOVEMBER 4, 2018
7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Daily


African-American Research Library
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard (NW 6th St.)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311

Coral Ridge Mall (North or Northwest Entrance)
3200 N. Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33306

Davie/Cooper City Branch Library
4600 SW 82nd Avenue
Davie, FL 33328

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center
1801 NE 6th St.
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Ft. Lauderdale Branch Library/Art Serve
1350 E. Sunrise Boulevard Room 130
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304

Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center
410 SE 3rd Street
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

Hollywood Branch Library
2600 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, FL 33020

Miramar Branch Library
2050 Civic Center Place
Miramar, FL 33025

North Regional Library/BC
1100 Coconut Creek Boulevard
Coconut Creek, FL 33066

Northwest Regional Library
3151 University Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33065

Nova Southeastern University
(Huizenga College of Business)
3301 College Ave. Room 1048 & 1049
Davie, FL 33311

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex
445 S.W. 2nd Street
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Parkland Recreation and Enrichment Center
10559 Trails End
Parkland, FL. 33076

Supervisor of Elections at E Pat Larkins Community Center
520 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Supervisor of Elections at Lauderhill Mall 
1519 NW 40th Ave
Lauderhill, FL 33313

South Regional Library/BC
7300 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Southwest Regional Library
16835 Sheridan Street
Pembroke Pines, FL 33331

Sunrise Civic Center
10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
Sunrise, FL 33351

Tamarac Branch Library
8701 W. Commercial Boulevard
Tamarac, FL 33321

West Regional Library
8601 W. Broward Boulevard
Plantation, FL 33324

Weston Branch Library
4205 Bonaventure Boulevard
Weston, FL 33332

Wilton Manors City Hall
2020 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Roundup of Voting Recommendations

Every election, I find myself seeking out voting recommendations from people who are smarter and better informed than I am — particularly on the judicial races and those long lists of amendments and other ballot measures. Here is a roundup of what has been shared with me.

See also: a summary of recommendations on the amendments.

Continue reading “Roundup of Voting Recommendations”

Gwen Graham Needs to Run for Governor (Not “First Woman Governor”)

I was very impressed by Gwen Graham’s recent appearance at the Broward Democratic Party’s monthly meeting. That’s why I was so distressed to see her making what I believe is a serious tactical mistake at the Florida Democratic Party conference held this weekend at The Diplomat in Hollywood.

At least on Friday night, she appeared to be running for “First Woman Governor of Florida” rather than just running for governor. I hope she rethinks that.

Too many pink balloons.

The Friday night event centered on a series of receptions sponsored by each of the Democratic candidates or statewide office, all held at the same time, which made it possible to hop from room to room for those (like me and my wife Beth Anne) who had friends in multiple campaigns. One of the first things we saw, when we walked into the hotel was a sign saying “Women for Graham,” with an arrow pointing the way down the hall to the event. Funny enough, the sign was being held by a man.

Upstairs, there were a series of additional directional signs pointing to her event, all labeled “Women for Graham.” Did that mean men weren’t invited? Surely, that wasn’t the intention. I thought maybe that just meant those were the signs they happened to have the most of, and they needed to deploy them to get the people to the right ballroom, since she hadn’t captured one of the locations closer to the entrance.

But we walked into the Graham reception just in time to see her up on stage surrounded by women supporters and pink balloons. I am sure she talked about other important issues, besides the gender of the candidates, but I didn’t stick around to listen to the rest.

For the record, I like women candidates when they are the best candidates. Last time around, I voted for Nan Rich as the more authentic Democratic candidate for governor and was disappointed that the powers that be were so determined to anoint former Republican Charlie Crist as the “can’t lose” candidate.

On the other hand, spending too much time running for “First Woman” in any office has not proven to be a winning strategy. Both Alex Sink and Hillary Clinton made that mistake from time to time. Hillary was at her best when she treated the subject with humor, as when her campaign created a plastic “woman card” to counter the trope about “playing the woman card.” Barack Obama famously avoided campaigning for “First Black President,” perhaps downplaying the importance of race to a fault — but winning in the end.

For Gwen Graham to hold “Women for Graham” events would be a smart way of engaging women who are particularly passionate about electing women candidates. I’m just disappointed that she made that the theme of a event for Democrats from across the state where she should have been making her case to everyone, even the men — which was what every other candidate was doing Friday night.

Gwen Graham remains one of the candidates with the best chance of winning the nomination. In reality, I don’t think she is a one-note candidate. As I mentioned, I was impressed by her appearance at the Broward Democratic Party where she addressed a wide range of issues and stayed to answer everyone’s questions, including some moderately hostile ones.

(Update: At the state party dinner Saturday night, the pink signs were gone, or at least not as prominent, and Graham’s message was broader, more like what she delivered at the Broward party meeting.)

I can’t help thinking she got talked into this “Women for Graham” focus by someone who underestimated her appeal to all Democrats. Whether it could be a strategy for winning the nomination, I don’t honestly know. But in the long run, I think it’s a trap. To actually win the governorship, she will have to run for governor, not woman governor, and win votes from all Floridians, even the men.

“Resistance” Summer Training Schedule

The Broward Democratic party is organizing training on effective door-to-door campaigning and the use of the Voter Activation Network (VAN) software used to organize campaigns. This information is adapted from a handout distributed at the June meeting of the Broward Democratic Party. To register, contact the party office at (954) 423-2200 or info@browarddemocrats.org. Register to volunteer as part of #ResistanceSummer at browarddemocrats.org/resistance2017/

This training is a 3-part sequential series. Sign up for one each month.

Thursday July 6 Herb Skolnick Center, Pompano Canvassing 1 6-8 pm
Saturday July 8 Stirling Road library, Hollywood Canvassing 1 2-4 pm
Monday, July 10 Deicke Auditorium, Plantation Canvassing 1 6-8 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 2 Deicke Auditorium, Plantation Canvassing 2 6-8 pm
Thursday Aug. 3 Herb Skolnick Center, Pompano Canvassing 2 6-8 pm
 Saturday Aug. 5 Dania Library, Dania Beach Canvassing 2 1-3 pm
Wednesday Sept. 6 Herb Skolnick Center, Pompano Canvassing 3 6-8 pm
Friday, Sept. 8 Deicke Auditorium, Plantation Canvassing 3 6-8 pm
Saturday Sept. 9 Stirling Road Library, Hollywood Canvassing 3 3-5 pm

Voter Activation Network software training (pick one date)

Sunday, July 9 Pride Center, Wilton Manors VAN 2-4 pm
Thursday, Aug 3 Pride Center, Wilton Manors VAN 6-8 pm
Sunday, Sept. 10 Pride Center, Wilton Manors VAN 2-4 pm

An App for Activists from the Broward Democratic Party

Amplify for iPhone

The Broward Democrats are excited to announce a new tool to increase our collective impact. You can now access our team’s calls to action via
Amplify, a free app that makes it easy to act in concert with all of our members.

We all want to be in the habit of taking political action, but it’s hard to do that if it feels like we’re each acting alone. With Amplify, we can see that our fellow members are taking action as well, and cheer each other on. You can view scripts and call members of Congress right from the app, and it will be easy to find our calls to action whenever you have a few minutes.

To join our team on Amplify:

1. Install the app for iPhone or Android (getamplify.org/iphone or getamplify.org/android)

2. Sign up for a new account

3. Enter the Broward Democrats team code: 009-565-000

4. Take an action & cheer others on!

Note: We suggest putting Amplify on the first page of your home screen so you can access it easily.

Joe Biden’s Message of Optimism

As the headliner at last night’s Leadership Blue Gala in Hollywood, former Vice President Joe Biden articulated a refreshing, positive vision for getting the party and the nation back on track.

He said it was understandable for Democrats to be disoriented and discouraged following a November election that “churned up some of the ugliest realities that persist in our country.” But he added: “The state the nation is today will not be sustained by the American people. We are better than this.”

He argued we need to acknowledge that too many voters have been motivated by by fear — fear of the future of the economy, fear of immigrants and more generally of “the other, the outsider,” fear of American decline — which Democrats need to counter with a positive vision of overcoming the real problems and capturing the opportunities of the future. “We have to make it clear what we stand for,” he said.

The Miami Herald story captured a key point:

Biden implored the party to stop thinking it can’t appeal to Trump’s working-class base without spurning progressive values.

“We can’t get bogged down — and I hope I don’t offend anyone here — in this phony debate in the Democratic Party,” he said, likening the false choice to saving your soul by cutting out your heart. “There is no need to choose. They are not inconsistent.”

Working people elected him for decades, Biden noted. “They voted for a black man named Barack Obama!” But they fear losing jobs to automation, digitalization and globalization.

“We didn’t talk much to those people lately,” he said. “We have to let them know we understand their fears, their concerns and that we have some real answers.”

It was certainly possible to hear this as an election speech, given that Biden recently formed a PAC, American Possibilities.

As noted in The Hill:

“I have no intention of running for president but I’m a great respecter of fate,” Biden told NPR’s “Fresh Air.” “I don’t have any plans to do it, but I’m not promising I wouldn’t do it.”

One political consultant I ran into in the hallway characterized it as less a campaign speech and more of a “get your act together” speech.

No doubt Biden and his admirers have spent some time wondering whether the results have been different if he had been the candidate instead of Hillary, just as that debate continues among Bernie Sanders believers. Unless you have a time machine handy, I think that’s a useless argument (and if you know your time machine stories, you know changing one big thing in the past changes everything else in unpredictable ways).

Whether he ought to run in 2020 is a harder question. Given that he would be 77 to Trump’s 74, it might be better to make room for a fresher face on the Presidential debate stage. Maybe after electing a second Bush and being presented with Hillary Clinton as a proposed successor to Bill, Americans are getting tired of sequels. I’m not eager to see Hillary or Bernie run again, either.

On the other hand, Biden is one of the best people to elevate the quality of the debate and the tone of the Democratic message, either as a candidate (win or lose) or as an adviser and coach to other candidates.

Biden at the Florida Democratic Party dinner

Fear of the future is misplaced, given that America still attracts the world’s best talent (immigration!) and generates most of its technological innovation, Biden said. “We always have been a nation of optimism, and for good reason.” We may need to do a better job of adjusting to technological change and other changes, but we have the capacity to make the future work for us. First, we need to be confident rather than timid and fearful.

“We are so well positioned as a nation if we could just get out of our own way,” he said.