Caribbean National Weekly Voters’ Guide – General Election, November 3, 2020

Voting in the November 3 General Election has begun in South Florida with many voters having already completed and submitted mail-in ballots. For those who prefer to vote in person, early voting in South Florida begins on Monday, October 19.

This is one of, if not, the nation’s most critical and anticipated elections in light of the often caustic, bizarre nature of the presidential campaign. Voters are advised to not be dissuaded by some of the extremely negative aspects of the campaign, and overt attempts at voter intimidation and suppression but to make every effort to let their voices be heard through their special privilege to vote.

Voters must be aware they are required to vote on ballot choices that include several other vital elected offices than U.S. President/Vice President. These other elected offices that require a vote, includes for representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives.  A president is disadvantaged in getting legislation passed if the party he represents does not have the majority of members in the U.S. Senate and House.

Other elected offices which voters should focus on include individuals seeking election to Florida’s Senate and House of Representative, county and city mayors and commissioners, circuit and county court judges, and school board members.

Voters are also strongly advised to vote on constitutional amendments, and questions included on some county ballots. The response to these amendments and questions can potentially impact the lives of South Florida residents, dependent on how the majority vote.

Voters in most of the cities in Broward County must be cognizant and take careful note of the elections for offices in the city commission or city council in their respective city. These municipal elections are of extreme importance. It is the city mayor, and respective city commissioners or councilors that influence the issues that affect the daily lives of residents. These issues include water and sewage, police security, property taxes, garbage collections, parks and gardens, city beautification, small business development and more.

Too many issues are at stake in Florida—South Florida specifically—and the nation for registered voters not to participate in the process to elect individuals who they believe can address these issues adequately.

To assist voters in their choice the Caribbean National Weekly over the past several months has closely observed the candidates, their respective platforms, campaign website, responses to our questionnaires, and have concluded who should best be elected to represent various offices in these elections.

Voters voting by mail are encouraged to complete and sign, and turn in their ballots by mail (they can be placed in designated drop boxes at a local post office) or by delivering them to the respective Supervisor of Elections office as soon as possible, or deliver the ballots in person to an early voting polling site as soon as early voting begins.

It is specifically emphasized that mail-in voters make certain they sign the envelope in which the ballot is returned, with a signature that is as close as possible to their normal signature.  Voters must not risk their ballots being rejected because of a signature that do not match the signature on file at the Supervisor of Elections office.

Voters should be aware they are able to monitor of their mail-in ballot is received and has been counted by tracking their ballot on the website of the supervisor of elections office in their respective South Florida community.

If the Supervisor of Elections inform a voter that his/her vote was rejected either because there is a problem with the signature or the outer envelope was not signed, the voter can easily correct the problem by requesting, signing and sending a Vote-By-Mail Affidavit to the office of the Supervisor of Elections along with a copy of the voter’s ID.

This is a key reason why those voting by mail-in ballot should try to vote and return the ballot as soon as possible after it is received.

Voters who rather vote in person, are encouraged to do so in the early days of the two week period from October 19 to November 1. If they did request and received a mail-in ballot they can take that ballot to the early voting site, turn it in and vote in person Early voting takes place from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. Polling places will be copiously sanitized and voters can wear masks when they go to vote.

If the voter’s only option is to vote in person on November 3, they should try to vote as early as possible on that day, as lines could likely be very long.

So, there are several options which voters have to be able to vote. Please vote.

CNW recommendations for the presidential/general elections are as follows:

U.S. PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT

Joe Biden/Kamala Harris (DEM)

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris clearly represent the interests of Caribbean Americans. Interests including positive and comprehensive immigration reform; non-biased law enforcement; improving the criminal justice system; affordable comprehensive healthcare; stopping the spread of COVID-19; increasing the federal minimum wage; improving the national economy and creating more job opportunities; improving comprehensive health insurance as approved enhancing civil rights for minorities; streamlining the federal student loan system; more accessibility to affordable college education; expansion of paid family leave; improvement in the Social Security program. and a more secure society.

These are issues which were not addressed, or addressed adequately, by the incumbent Trump/Pence administration. Moreover, no plans have been put forward by the administration that these issues will be addressed to comply with the interests of Caribbean Americans.

With some 46 years experience in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and including eight years as vice-president to President Barack Obama, Joe Biden has the experience to pull America out of its current health and economic nosedive. He joined Obama in accomplishing a major economic recovery between 2008 and 2016 and will be joined in doing this by Senator Kamala Harris, a proven leader in the California justice system and the U.S. Senate.

US CONGRESS:

 

District 20

 

Alcee Hastings (DEM)

 Hastings, a focused, hardworking congressional representative should easily win his 15th term and continue to offer his dedicated veteran experience in congress.

 

District 21

 

Lois Frankel (DEM) Incumbent

 

Congresswoman Frankel has also been a very focused, hardworking representative of Floridians. She serves on the important Appropriations Committee and co-chairs the Democratic Women’s Caucus. Her top priorities include building credible systems to control pandemics, racial justice, climate change, police reform and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

 

District 22

 

Ted Deutch (DEM) Incumbent

 

First elected to Congress in 2010, Deutch has consistently proven himself a committed Democratic, devoted to issues like gun control, affordable healthcare, improvement in Social Security and Medicare, raising the minimum wage and helping the lot of working families.

 

District 23

 

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DEM) Incumbent

 

Wasserman-Schultz fights tirelessly for women issues, and social issues including child protection. She remains the best candidate to represent the district in the US Congress, and support the next president in fighting for immigration reform; increasing the minimum wage; job growth and expansion of comprehensive healthcare.

 

District 24

Fredericka Wilson (DEM) Incumbent

The congresswoman remains one of the more courageous and strongest the strongest proponents for the cause of African and Caribbean Americans in the U.S. Congress. She should be overwhelmingly re-elected.

District 26

Debbie Mucarsel Powell (DEM) Incumbent

 

Facing a challenging race with Republican Carlos Giminez, former Miami-Dade Mayor Powell should be reelected to continue the service she began in 2018 in congress. She has proven to be an extremely committed representative for Floridians. Recently she pushed hard to ensure residents who lost their jobs to COVID-19 received unemployment assistance, and is currently fighting to ensure small business and residents are not unduly disadvantaged by the impact of the virus.

 

District 27

Donna Shalala (DEM) Incumbent

The former president of the University of Miami, and Secretary of Health in the Bill Clinton administration has also justified her 2018 election to the House. She has readily absorbed herself in the flow of congressional procedures and has shown strong commitment to secure the welfare of her constituents.

 

FLORIDA SENATE

District 29

Tina Polsky (DEM)

 

District 31

Lori Berman (DEM)

 

District 35

Shevrin “Shev” Jones (DEM)

 

District 37

Jose Javier Rodriquez (DEM)

 

District 39

Javier Fernandez (DEM)

 

FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE

 

District 81

Kelly Skidmore (DEM)  

District 88

Omari Hardy (DEM)

District 89

Jim Bonfiglio (DEM)

District 91

Emily Ann Slosberg (DEM) Incumbent

District 92

Patricia Williams-Hawkins (DEM)

District 93

Linda Thompson Gonzalez (DEM)

District 101

Marie Woodson (DEM)  

District 103

Cindy Polo (DEM) Incumbent

District 104

Robin Bartleman (DEM)

District 105

Maureen Porras (DEM)

District 106

Sara McFadden (DEM)

District 110

Annette Collazo (DEM)

District 111

Ross Elde Hancock (DEM)

District 112

Xavier Nicholas Duran (DEM) Incumbent

 

District 114

Jean-Pierre Bado (DEM)

 

District 115

Francesca Cesti-Browne (DEM)

District 116

Bob Lynch (DEM)

District 118

Ricky Junquera (DEM)

Anthony Rodriquez (REP) Incumbent

District 119

Imtiaz Ahmad Muhammad (DEM)  

District 120

Clint Barras (DEM)  

 

BROWARD COUNTY

 

COUNTY COMMISSION

District 7

Tim Ryan (DEM) Incumbent

District 9

Dale Holness (DEM) Incumbent

 

Circuit Judge Court 17 Group 16

 

George Odom Jr.

 

 

County Sheriff

 

Gregory Tony (DEM) Incumbent

 

Supervisor of Elections

Joe Scott (DEM)

State Attorney

 

Harold Pryor

 

Public Defender

 

Gordon Weekes

 

School Board – District 9

 

Jeff Holness

 

Court of Appeal Judges

 

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Alan O. Forst of the Fourth District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes

 

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Mark W. Klingensmith of the Fourth District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes

 

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Martha C. Warner of the Fourth District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

 Yes

 

County Referendum 1

Home Rule Charter Amendment For The Establishing Of An Independent Inspector General

YES                

County Referendum 2

Charter Amendment Regarding Elections to Fill Mayor or Commission Vacancies During Primary and General Elections (and not by a specially called election).

YES                     

 

County Referendum 3

Nonpartisan Election of County Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections

 YES                    

 

Broward County Ballot Question

Seeking Approval of Special Law CS/HB 989 (2020) Relating to The Functions of Broward County’s Government.

YES

Broward County Charter Question

County Regulation to Facilitate implementation of the Development of Surtax-Funded Improvements to the County’s transportation system.

YES

 

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

MAYOR

Daniella Levine Cava

The former Miami-Dade Commissioner is seeking to emerge as the county’s first female mayor but facing a strong challenge from Esteban Bovo. She, however, offers a much-needed fresh perspective on the leadership of the myriad problems of this very diverse community seem to understand how to build bridges across the county as the effects from COVID-19 threatens its economic well being.

 

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS,

 

 

DISTRICT 3

 

Gepsie M. Metellus

 

 

DISTRICT 5

 

Eileen Higgins

 

DISTRICT 7

 

Cindy Lerner

 

DISTRICT 9

 

Kion McGhee

 

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER

 

DISTRICT 3

 

Lucia Baez-Geller

 

DISTRICT 5

 

Mara Zapata

 

DISTRICT 9

 

Dennis Moss

 

County Referendum 1

Home Rule Charter Amendment Establishing Independent Inspector General

YES                

County Referendum 2

Charter Amendment Regarding Elections to Fill Mayor or Commission Vacancies During Primary and General Elections

YES                     

County Referendum 3

Nonpartisan Election of County Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections

YES                    

District Court of Appeal Judges

 

Shall Judge Monica Gordo of the 3rd District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes                     

Shall Judge Eric William Hendon of the 3rd District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes                     

Shall Judge Fleur Jeannine Lobree of the 3rd District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes                     

 

Shall Judge Thomas Logue of the 3rd District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes                     

 

Shall Judge Bronwyn Catherine Miller of the 3rd District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes                     

 

PALM BEACH COUNTY

County Commission

District 3

Dave Kerner (DEM)

District 5

Maria Sachs (DEM)  

District 7

Mack Bernard (DEM)

County Sheriff

Ric Bradshaw (DEM)

 

Circuit Judge 15th Judicial Circuit

Group 30 –  Jaimie Goodman

                 

Port of Palm Beach

 

Group 3 –   Jean L. Enright (DEM)

 

Palm Beach Water &  Soil Conservative -Group 2

Ann Marie Sorrell

 

Palm Beach Water &  Soil Conservative – Group 3

Nicholas T. O’Neal

 

Palm Beach Water &  Soil Conservative – Group 4

Rob Long

 

District Court of Appeal Judge

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Martha C. Warner of the Fourth District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Yes

 

County Referendum 1

Home Rule Charter Amendment Establishing Independent Inspector General

YES                

 

County Referendum 2

Charter Amendment Regarding Elections to Fill Mayor or Commission Vacancies During Primary and General Elections

YES                     

County Referendum 3

Nonpartisan Election of County Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections

YES                    

 

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

 

Shall Justice Carlos G. Muñiz of the Supreme Court be retained in office?

YES

FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

No. 1 Constitutional Amendment

Article VI, Section 2

Change Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections

VOTE: NO       

This amendment implies meaningless semantics. Whether the law says “Every citizen can vote” as it currently does, or “Only citizens can” as required by the amendment, it still means it is illegal for people who are not U.S. citizens cannot vote in Florida elections. There is no evidence given of non-citizens voting in Florida elections.

 

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment

Article X, Section 24

Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage to $10 per hour on September 30, 2021, and $1 per annum to a maximum of $15 on September 30, 2026.

YES       

This amendment is long overdue, despite arguments from private sector employers that this will be an economic burden. Several economists have been persistent that that increasing the minimum wage will increase the purchasing power of workers, which, in turn, will increase the demand for goods and services, thus improving the revenue of most businesses.

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment

Article VI, Section 5

All Voters, Including Voters Registered as No Party Affiliation Vote in Primary Elections for Florida Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet

VOTE: NO

Currently, Florida holds closed primaries. This means voters are only allowed to vote in their own Party’s primary election, and voters who are registered as having No Party Affiliation (NPA) are unable to vote at all in the primaries.

This amendment would open primary voting to anyone eligible to vote, regardless of party affiliation. Under the current system, the Democratic and Republican primary winners advance to the general election; however, if the amendment is approved, the two candidates who receive the most votes, irrespective of party affiliation, would advance. This means that two Democrats or two Republicans could face each other in the general election.

While some argue opening the primaries to all registered voters is more democratic, this move could make it more difficult for minority candidates (such as African Americans and Caribbean Americans) to get nominated if it’s a free-for-all primary process. 

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment

Article XI, Sections 5 and 7

Seeking Approval for Dual Votes to Approve Constitutional Amendments

VOTE: NO     

This amendment smacks of absolute government control, as it’s calling for not one, but two votes by 60 percent of the electorate in two separate election for an amendment to pass. So, potentially it would take a minimum of eight years for an amendment to be approved. Constitutional amendments are placed on ballots in a sense of urgency. Waiting eight or more years for an amendment to pass is unrealistic and would kill most amendments.

No. 5 Constitutional Amendment

Article VII, Section 4 and Article XII

Limitations on Homestead Property Tax Assessments; increased by one year of portability period to transfer accrued benefit to homeowners selling one house and purchasing another.

VOTE: NO       

At face value, this seems to be an amendment that offers a tax break to homeowners. But while some owners would benefit, if approved, the amendment would take much-need revenue away from cities and most likely result in increases in property taxes to take care of the shortfall.

No. 6 Constitutional Amendment

Article VII, Section 6 and Article XII

Homestead or Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-related Disabilities

VOTE: YES

While this amendment will also like reduce the tax revenue of local governments, it is arguable if the reduction will be so significant as to warrant increase in property taxes. It will, however, fairly provide what could be a much-needed benefit to the spouses of those who served the country and who may well be financially disadvantaged to these spouses who most likely would be in their senior years.

 

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

 

City of Coral Springs Commission – Seat 3

Nancy Metayer

City of Delray Beach Commission – Seat 2

Jennifer Jones

City of Hollywood Commission – District 2

Linda Anderson

Mayor, City of Lauderdale Lakes       

Hazelle Rogers

City of Lauderdale Lakes Comm – Seat 4    

Karleen Maxwell Williams

City of Lauderhill Commission – Seat 2           

Richard Campbell

City of Lauderhill Commission – Seat 3           

Nadia Assad

Mayor, City of North Lauderdale

Ana Zaidie – Incumbent

Mayor, City of Pompano

Rex Hardin – Incumbent 

Commission – District 4

Ed Phillips

City of Plantation Council – Group 3

Jennifer Andreu

City of Sunrise Commission – Seat D

Jaqueline Guzman – Scott

City of Tamarac Commission – District 1    

Marlon Bolton (Incumbent)

City of West Park

Mayor – Christina Eveillard

Commissioner – District 3

Joy B. Smith

 

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