The Republican Party is preparing for possible Election Day challenges that could stall voting in predominantly black precincts.
Republican leaders say they just want to prevent ineligible voters from voting, but the Republican plan, plus voter harassment by angry partisans, may end up disenfranchising voters of both parties.
Hundreds of college students marched to the Leon County Courthouse to take their places in line for early voting. Organizer Delane Adams doesn’t mind the long wait.
“This is about people’s lives we’re talking about, future generations and that’s why it’s so important to bring everybody together and get in that voting booth and make your vote count.”
But there are many forces at work, Democrat and Republican, that may make it harder for some people to vote. They’re harassing people at the polls and challenging people’s right to vote.
Partisans on both sides shout their views at voters in some counties, sometimes getting into verbal sparring matches.
The Republican Party is now keeping lists of people who might be illegally registered to vote. GOP poll watchers may challenge those voters when they show up, which would temporarily halt all voting at the precinct.
Gov. Jeb Bush defends the plan.
“I don’t think it will cause problems. I do think people who are not eligible to vote shouldn’t and the people who are should,” says Gov. Bush.
Florida State political science professor Lance DeHaven Smith doesn’t buy it.
“They may cast it as a positive thing and protecting the integrity of the election, but the reality is it’s undermining the voting process."
Voters who believe they’ve experienced harassment or intimidation, or been unfairly denied the right to vote, are encouraged to call the Florida Voter Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-877-868-3737.
You should also report the incident immediately to your county supervisor of elections or any poll worker at the precinct.