Tuesday, November 4, 2008

FLORIDA VOTER TURNOUT: Updates from the Miami Workers Center

Our friend Joseph Phelan from the Miami Workers Center -- and author of this great article "Why Vote Then?" -- sent us the following updates about what's going on down in Miami on Election Day ... and check out their videos about Election Day on their youtube channel!

Here in Miami things got off to a start with long lines but by mid morning the lines seemed to evaporate. There haven’t been any major reported problems for voters. The main thing we are seeing is a lack of education around state amendments. A lot of people are showing up to the polls ready to vote for the president but not at all informed on the entire ballot.

We have also had some problems with poll workers who are aggressively trying to keep us away from voters. We have every right to talk with voters, educate them about the actual ballot, and check in with them to see if they have any problems. But some poll deputies are not really interested in having us near the polls.

But in some good news, we organized poll workers at a couple of different precincts to hand out our flyers, which include voting rights/process and an invitation to our results party tonight.

This morning several voter defense teams left from the Miami Workers Center at 6:30. They headed out to check on 21 different polling sites to ensure they opened on time. There are no reports of big problems at the polls besides the long lines.

Below are some brief reflections from a couple of members:

Chris Rice, LIFFT Member
"This morning we went to several precincts to make sure they opened on time. There weren't any real problems yet. The lines are long. But people are ready. A lot of people said they would stay out regardless of weather. They were determined. I got real pumped up from seeing all those young people out there. It is great to see all those young folks. They all want to be a part of history by voting. We pushed the issue of vote no on 2." [Note: If Amendment 2 is approved by voters it will write into the Florida state constitution that no union will be recognized besides a marriage between a man and woman. This will severely limit rights for gay and straight couples by outlawing civil unions and domestic partnership]

Mia Dennis, LIFFT member, MWC Canvasser
Speaking about organizing at the polls -
"If you are an outspoken person it is going to be kind of hard. You should start it off letting people know about their rights. Let them know how to handle the ballot. Then after that you talk to them about continuing to build power after the election and inviting them to our party. You go from talking about voting and their rights and then about building community power. "

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