TIME / YouTube Andrew Gillum And Ron Desantis Florida 1540759055.jpg...
TIME / YouTube

An important reminder: the next governor of Florida will pick not one, not two, but THREE State Supreme Court Justices his first week in office.  This is kind of a big deal.

The FL Governor’s race is a race that we are not only expected to win, but have to win. This race isn’t just important for Florida’s sake: our State Supreme Court has been the only saving grace from the GOP’s blatant attempts at election rigging, and that failsafe will come to end. Why do you think Trump has openly expressed his fear about losing this race in Florida? He knows his re-election chances drop significantly without a toady in the governor’s mansion “helping” him win, which is why he is sending cabinet officials, Pence, Kellyanne, and other sycophants to barnstorm across his adopted home state.

Several blue counties, including Orange County, started early voting (EV) Monday. All Florida counties are now in the EV period. Although Ron DeSantis is behind in every single poll for Florida governor, he is currently winning in the only one that matters. The election has not only already started, but 30% of the vote has been completed already.

While DeSantis can’t stop putting his foot in his mouth, the GOP has revved up their massive GOTV operation that has taken them two decades to build. Bottom line: they are kicking our ass right now:

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Orange Co. Tax Collector and former Florida Legislator, Scott Randolph.

I put off writing this because although the leads were sizable for the GOP, every day I’ve been waiting for us to catch up. Blue Wave? Remember?? Our streets were filled with angry protestors just a year ago, so why the hell would you protest but forget to vote?

Yet with each passing day, the vote lead has only been growing for the GOP. (All counties in FL have to report their ballot count every day.)

Right now, we are barely keeping pace with the percentage that we had in 2014—which is when Rick Scott defeated Charlie Crist as Governor.  I understand that many of you think this is all okay, because traditionally Democrats vote at the last minute on the last day of voting. Here’s the thing: 60% of the vote will be done before Election Day.  Statistically, if we aren’t close, there’s very little chance we can make up the deficit with the final 40% on Election Day. (In fact, the GOP usually outpaces us on Election Day, so we need to get that gap closed now.)

Not just early voting, but we are also way down in vote-by-mail (VBM) returns. Democrats have more ballot requests, but the GOP has more returned ballots. Again, returned ballots are the only things that matter here. The votes are out there, but they are pointless if not mailed in.

Scott Randolph said tens of thousands of Orange County Democrats have yet to turn in their mail-in ballots. (This is likely a statewide problem as well.) The issue here is that if you have a mail-in ballot, you are rapidly running out of time to send them.  They have to be received by the Supervisor of Elections by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, which means they have to be mailed by this Tuesday or Wednesday (Halloween) at the latest.

I’m not saying any of this to be a Chicken Little. We have the votes to win, but only if those votes are taken. This election is nowhere near over, but I’m sounding the alarm that it’s time to STEP IT UP if we don’t want to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory:

  • If you haven’t voted this weekend, go vote now. DO NOT WAIT! Besides, if and when the Blue Wave materializes, that will take pressure off the Gillum campaign to allow other races and candidates to be focused on.
  • If you haven’t mailed in your ballot yet, stop whatever you are doing and do that right now. One of my friends I convinced to do VBM now says there are too many amendments and races. I told him he didn’t have to vote in every race. In fact, I suggested voting Dem in the labeled partisan races, and said leave everything else blank.  I only suggested marking YES on Amend #4 to restore voting rights, but said forget everything else.  Seriously…I’d rather it be incomplete than not turned in.
  • Find someone who hasn’t voted. One person. Talk them into it. Drive them to an EV station. I usually don’t talk politics with my friends here, but that’s out the window. Too much at stake.
  • Finally, if you haven’t gotten involved, now would be a pretty damn good time:
    • Volunteer for Gillum Even if you are outside Florida, you can send texts or calls.
    • Donate to Gillum

I understand a lot of Dems are busting their humps this election: this diary is not for you. But for many others in my party, I am hearing the same sounds of complacency the last time we had an awesome candidate vs. a know-nothing racist. Florida was supposed to be a lock, remember?

Yet the comments section here is similar to what I heard two years ago. (“Geesh, we got this”, or “but the polls?”, or “don’t worry, independents and cross-over GOPers will save us”.) That needs to stop. Yeah, we will get a share of the NPAs, but that means squat if we can’t turn our own damn people out. We should be turning out in droves and putting this away. Please, don’t wait till the last minute—something could come up, or you might discover you were purged. The election is ours for the taking, but we have to treat this at least as seriously as the other side does.

I know it really sucks that we have to work so hard just to get someone in office that Florida actually deserves, but that’s our reality.

The GOP has the 20-year infrastructure they’ve built, and the operation of a well-oiled machine. Moreover, they have several Rick Scott laws that suppress “undesirable” voters. All we have is much better candidates who care about Florida, but oftentimes, that is not enough.

Again, this thing isn’t over. We can totally win this, but we need all hands on deck. If you were on the fence before, it’s time to get out on the field. NOW!

Do you want to be a winner November 6, or a whiner November 7?

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m a first time VBM’er, I sent in in the mail just days after I got it weeks ago, and I noticed it was very conspicuous in that it had Democratic marked on it and it just stood out so much so what if, and this is outrageous but, what if the GOP had “plants” in the postal system and grabbed all of them they could and…they never got there! Think about it, how’s that for a conspiracy theory.

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