Florida Democrats Will Spend $4M To Connect With Voters of Color

The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) announced on May 21 that it plans to spend millions of dollars to organize and engage communities of color. Democrats in the Sunshine State will also advertise in African American-owned publications ahead of the 2020 elections to educate voters in a year-long ad campaign.

The ad campaign, titled “Don’t Fear The Future, Fight For It," was launched earlier in May and will highlight policies implemented by President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Florida Republicans that marginalize communities of color, the party said.

“The Florida Democratic Party will continue to expose the harm Donald Trump and Republican policies inflict upon our communities,” FDP Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement.

“This ad campaign highlights the fact that Donald Trump and Florida Republicans are fighting for policies that put our children in harm’s way, defund education, restrict voting rights that erode the voices of Black and Brown communities across the state,” Rizzo continued. “Democrats have a path forward that lifts all of us up and this ad campaign allows us to make our case directly to voters.” The first ad encouraged voters to call their local school board and voice their opposition to the NRA-supported policy that places more guns in schools. “Florida Republicans passed a bill that could put thousands of guns in schools,” the ad stated. “Call your local school board and tell them you oppose giving teachers guns.”

Another planned ad will focus on a bill passed in April that would require formerly incarcerated people to pay fines, fees, and restitution before their voting rights are restored.

Opponents to the bill claim it is an affront to the 65 percent of voters who passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 to restore voting rights to some 1.5 million formerly incarcerated people, NBC News reported. Democrats, including Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have referred to the measure as a “poll tax.”

The bill has not been signed into law, but Governor DeSantis said he will not veto it. Florida Democrats also said they would spend $4 million in an effort to boost the vote in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, the Bradenton Herald reported. That amount includes the $2 million announced in March to register 200,000 new voters, the ad campaign in Black-owned newspapers, and a grassroots organizing effort.

According to the Bradenton Herald, the ads are expected to be published in the Capitol Outlook, Florida Sentinel Bulletin, Jacksonville Free Press, Orlando Times, Weekly Challenger, and Gospel Truth. The party will also hire dozens of minority college students, many of them bilingual, to work in field positions over the summer to register Black and Hispanic voters. FPD Executive Director Juan Peñalosa told the Bradenton Times that the party wants to “invest earlier and have more conversations and talk to people where they are, and not just before an election.”

Measures have been taken to ensure Florida’s Hispanic community is not shut out in the upcoming election. On May 10, a federal judge ordered that 32 counties in Florida provide Spanish-language ballots for the 2020 presidential primaries in March. Those counties will also be required to provide Spanish-language election assistance and bilingual voting materials by August.

Democrats have been criticized for their weak efforts to engage minority voters. Following Democrat Andrew Gillum’s loss to DeSantis, FDP treasurer Francesca Menes resigned and called out the party for failing Black voters.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.