Turnout Matters: Caribbean Americans Voting in Record Numbers but Worried about Results

By Garth A. Rose

Photo via Sun Sentinel

As indicated two weeks ago when mail-in ballots began returning to the supervisors of election offices in South Florida, Caribbean Americans are eagerly voting in the 2020 presidential/general election, but there is still a significant gap to be made up.

According to CNW’s recent survey concluded on Wednesday, 64 percent of Caribbean-American voters in South Florida have either voted by mail-in ballot or in-person early voting as of Wednesday, October 28, with six days still to go to Election Day on November 3.

Of the 64 percent that have already cast votes, a significant 77 percent are Democrats, 14 percent having no party affiliation, and 9 percent Republicans.

Most of those who have voted expressed anxiety about the security of their vote and wanted to take no chance to wait until Election Day. However, there is still the need for voters to turn out heavily in the remaining days of early voting, which ends on November 1, and on Election Day.

Much anxiety is evident among those who voted by mail, spurred by the unfounded doubts being cast about the integrity of mail-in ballots. Indicative of the anxiety, the vast majority, 83 percent, of those who utilized this option dropped off their ballots either at the SOE offices, or at an early voting polling site, rather than mailing the ballots.

Concerned their mail-in ballots have been received and counted, most of those who have voted by this method are anxiously following up on their county’s supervisor of elections (SOE) office website to track if their votes are received and counted.

Most voters in Miami Dade and Broward County who have tracked their votes are assured their ballots were received and counted. CNW found less than two percent were informed their ballots were compromised because of signature issues. These voters have a chance to remedy the problem prior to the deadline on Election Day.

PBC Mail-in Ballots Counted or Not?

The situation is different in Palm Beach County, where several voters expressed concern their votes are not being counted. While that county’s SOE website indicate mail-in ballots are being received, it doesn’t indicate the ballots have been counted.

Contacting the Palm Beach SOE office, CNW was informed ballots are being received and counted, but confirmation they are counted won’t appear on its website until after polls close on November 3. It was also ascertained if there are problems discerned with signatures on the ballot envelopes, the “received” box on the ballot tracking section of the website will be highlighted in red, and the voter should contact, or will be contacted by the SOE. Assurances were given that if the tracker shows the ballot was received, and there is no red highlight, the vote will show as counted on election night.

New Record

Of the 64 percent of Caribbean Americans known to have voted up to Wednesday, 62 percent had cast votes by mail-in ballots, and 38 percent during early voting. Most of those who opted to vote in person said they had no confidence their ballot would be secured voting by mail-in ballot. 

Among those who haven’t voted yet, 23 percent are yet to return mail-in ballot but plan to drop off their ballot later this week; 45 percent plan to vote before early voting ends on November 1, and 32 percent are waiting to vote on November 3. Most of the latter attested to “liking the excitement of voting on Election Day.”

Based on the current trend of South Florida’s Caribbean-American voters in the 2020 elections, it seems likely over 80 percent of these voters will be voting in this election, creating a new record. 

Young People Are Turning Out

A very encouraging trend seen in this election is the number of Caribbean-American youth, under age 25, who have voted to date. Of those who have indicated they have already cast ballots, 21 percent were under age 25. In former elections, it was a Herculean task motivating the youth to vote. This year they are turning out, with most of them indicating they are eagerly voting “for change.”

According to Florida’s early voting data analyzed by TargetSmart, a Washington based political data company, 1,508,165 voters who didn’t cast a ballot in the 2016 general election have already voted in this year. Registered Democrats have an 11.7 percent advantage among these voters, almost triple their 4.3 percent lead in 2016. Furthermore, nationally, 15,179,120 Americans who didn’t vote in 2016 have already voted in the 2020 general election. Among these voters, Democrats almost double their lead with early voters who voted in 2016.

As of Wednesday, 6.9 million Floridians have voted in the 2020 presidential/general election either by mail-in ballots or early voting. Of these votes, Democrats have a slight 41.9 to 37.0 percent lead over Republicans. Holding the balance are NPA voters with 20.1 percent of the vote.

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