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Florida Democrats Crushing The GOP in 2012 Voter Registrations

On the last day to register for the 2012 election, new Democratic voters outnumber the GOP by six-to-one or more.
 
 
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Don’t get depressed by the latest polls with Mitt Romney pulling ahead in Florida or by reports of the GOP’s plans to steal the election there by falsifying Democratic voter registration files. Tuesday is the final day to register to vote for the presidential election in Florida and Democrats have trounced the GOP’s efforts to register voters. 

Consider these numbers from the Florida Secretary of State’s website (Click the right-hand corner link for " Total Non-Blank State & Federal Applications Received," which will bring up the figures). The Democratic Party in Florida has turned in more than 290,000 voter registration applications this year, compared to less than 47,000 for the state’s Republican Party.

Two big Latino groups, representing a demographic where Obama has consistently outpolled Romney, The National Council of La Raza/Democracia USA, and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, have turned in a total of nearly 70,000 voter applications. Miami-Dade public schools have turned in more than 13,000. The Florida Consumer Action Network turned in nearly 6,000. The state’s NAACP chapters have submitted several thousand as well, as have other student and immigrant groups.

Beyond the state’s Republican Party, there only appears to be a trickle of new voter registration forms from Christian Conservatives, despite outsized annoucements by longtime organizers such as Ralph Reed of an evangelical voter wave. The Faith and Freedom Coalition only turned in 145 new voter registrations.

What this means that despite Romney’s bounce in the polls after the first presidential debate—including this summary of post-debate polls putting Romney up by 0.7 percent in Florida—is that the Democrats appear to be far better organized on the ground with their likely voters. While it is true that the GOP’s voter turnout strategy has historically relied on turning out existing voters, these latest numbers are a sizeable achievement in a state of 11.4 million voters.

If all these likely Democrats voted, they could comprise nearly 3 percent of the state’s electorate—assuming every registered voter casts a presidential ballot. That is far more statistically significant than the split in the latest polls, and it also is a far bigger number that the reported chicanery by GOP consultants who are now under investigation by law enforcement in Florida and several other states for filing falsifed voter information.

Tuesday is the final day for Florida’s eligible voters to register for the November election. People who have moved from one county to another should file a change of address form today. (Florida Republicans recently changed state law to add that requirement, even though the state’s electronic voter file can easily transfer records between Florida counties).

People who are not on local voter rolls, or who have moved across county lines and have not filed the change of address will be given a provisional ballot on Election Day, according to Chris Cate, Florida Department of State spokesperson. That ballot will not count unless people go to county offices within 48 hours and present ID showing their address. Voters who move within the same county can fill out a change of address form at the polls, Cate said, and then vote by a regular ballot.

 

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

 
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