As the registration deadline to vote in Florida’s presidential primary approaches, the Miami Beach Democratic Club has decided to focus its outreach efforts to young people, first-time voters and independents who would be otherwise shut out of the state’s closed primary system.
Residents have until Feb. 18 to register to vote or change their party affiliation ahead of the March 17 primary. Those who list no party affiliation on voter forms cannot participate, though they will be able to vote in November.
People are more likely to vote when they sign up for vote-by-mail, said member Helen Mittelman. About 20 people attended a recent Day of Action event, mostly members of the club.
“We are sending out postcards because with the vote-by-mail option, the percentage of votes turns out to be higher,” Mittelman said. “Because it’s not just about registering. It is important to go out and actually vote.”
“Young people could have been interested in voting if the marijuana bill was passed this year,” she added. “Tallahassee isn’t doing much to legalize it. I don’t think anything can be done. Too many people stay home.”
Some members of the club mentioned who they are supporting. Club member Jeff Donnelly said he supports Elizabeth Warren, as he thinks she has a strong background, is educated and supports things that relate to many people.
“Elizabeth Warren is smart, and she supports consumer production,” Donnelly said. “Medicare for all, for example, would be a good improvement for everybody.”
There are 67 counties in Florida and approximately 65 Democratic clubs, said Mike Coleman, Chairman of the Palm Beach Democratic Club.
“I don’t know the exact number of the no party affiliation voters, but it is a significant number,” said Coleman. “We have members of the club making phone calls, canvassing and doing vote-by-mail to help people vote as Democrats.” All of this is being done, he said, because the country is in better hands with a Democrat in charge.
“I think that what we’re doing is helpful,” said Coleman. “We need to be in control, we need to have a safe government. It has been too long since we had a Democrat as a President, and that is why we are helping people to vote as Democrats.”