The Democratic Party and progressive organizations have recognized that the state of Florida is centrally aligned for the 2020 presidential election, so they’ve been doing what they can to increase turnout and register voters in order to unite Florida against President Trump. Considering that it has 29 votes in the Electoral College, Florida is the biggest swing state in the nation, so it’s absolutely essential for Trump’s win in the 2020 election. If the voting patterns from 2016 are repeated, then the Democratic presidential candidate would be able to win the election, as long as they gain Florida and one other swing state, such as Ohio or Wisconsin.
One of the largest efforts made by the Democrats to increase voters was an amendment that passed last year to restore voting rights to felons. Progressive groups have been battling the state’s efforts to require all 1.4 million of the ex-felons to pay court fees and civil fines before they register to vote. The Democrats are attempting to change the current voter map of 4.7 million Republicans, 4.96 million registered Democrats, and the 3.6 million voters who haven’t declared an affiliation to a party.
Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee and failed gubernatorial candidate, announced his own initiative to bring in voters. He vowed that before the 2020 election, he was committed to registering no less than one million new voters. Gillum has stated that his aim is to get enough voters to “evict Donald Trump” from the White House.
Last month, while speaking about his new initiative, which is called Bring It Home Florida, Gillum said: “We are going to commit ourselves to registering and engaging one million voters between now and 2020’s presidential election.” He continued by saying: “The road to the White House runs through Florida. We can deny Donald Trump a second term right here in the state of Florida. How many states can you say, by themselves, have the ability to deny this man a return to the White House? I can’t think of a bigger, better, more important state than the state of Florida, than for us to send that message.”
Apparently, the former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is using his billions to put capital into registration efforts and voter turnout in Florida and other swing states. According to an interview with Politico, Bloomberg adviser Mitch Stewart said: “The Florida Democratic Party itself is reportedly planning to spend at least $2 million to register new voters. The party is seeking to hire full-time organizers and utilize the services of data science firms in their Florida efforts.”
According to the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, Juan Peñalosa, the party is willing to work with Gillum in flipping the vote in Florida. “As one of the more exciting leaders of our Party in Florida, we’re excited for Andrew Gillum to direct his energies toward registering voters and we are working closely with Mayor Gillum to ensure we meet aggressive goals to bring more Floridians into the democratic process,” said Peñalosa. Gillum is at the lead of the efforts that are focused on fulfilling Amendment 4, which is a state constitutional amendment meant to give ex-felons their voting rights back. At the present time, the Florida Legislature is debating requiring ex-felons to pay court costs and associated fines.
While writing an Op-Ed for the Tampa Bay Times, Gillum argued that legislation is only looking to disenfranchise voters. Gillum stated: “While supervisors of elections all across our state opened the rolls to ex-felons almost immediately, lawmakers moved swiftly to prevent our newly redeemed citizens from participating in democracy. They’ve resorted to the same tactics implemented in 1885 by Florida neo-confederates scared of the future and social equality — a poll tax. And make no mistake, that poll tax was effective in preventing minorities from participating in democracy and enriching our state for generations — and this one would be effective, too.” He continued by saying: “By requiring full monetary restitution to be paid before civil rights are restored, lawmakers would be unconstitutionally burdening reformed ex-felons attempting to participate in our society.”
Gillum is working alongside other efforts of major progressive organizations that are eager to restore voting rights to ex-felons. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that legislation requiring ex-felons to pay for court fines before they’re allowed to vote “places unconstitutional restrictions on the eligibility to vote for individuals who should have their voting rights back.” The ACLU was used as a consultant when Florida’s Amendment 4 was drafted with the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, which is funded by George Soros. The ACLU also received a donation in the amount of $50 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The Brennan Center has also received large donations from Open Society Foundations, totaling over $7 million.
It is well-known that Gillum is associated with likeminded progressive groups. According to Breitbart News, Gillum previously served as the director of a radical youth training organization whose goal was to challenge the “predatory capitalism” in the United States, fight a “spiritual resistance” battle against” Christian Hegemony, abolish the prison system, redefine what “borders” means while helping “undocumented” immigrants, and proclaim the “collective liberation” of “communities of color” while in the midst of what was described as “white supremacy.”
The militant youth group accused the United States of being a “colonialist” rule committing “structural violence” and “continued genocide.” The group also made the claim that the conservatives in the U.S. justice system were “justifying white supremacist policing practices.” While Gillum acted as the organization’s director, their mission could be seen on the official “issues” section of their website. This organization, which is called Young People For or YP4, is one of two youth groups that was directed by Gillum.