100 Days to The Vote Campaign Launched
Written by: Patrick Connelly/Orlando Sentinel
The League of Women Voters Orange County has launched a campaign with a message for Floridians: register to vote online, vote by mail and vote early.
The nonpartisan organization aims to provide Central Florida voters with the resources they need to safely participate in this election amid a pandemic. They’ll do this through social media posts and public actions while also highlighting women’s suffrage history during the centennial of women’s voting rights across the United States.
“Nov. 2 was the first time 100 years ago that women could vote nationally in most states,” said Gloria Pickar, co-president of the Orange County league. “We are very mindful of the juxtaposition of women’s suffrage and this very consequential election. We’re thinking about the importance of safety and eliminating all the fear that there is right now about voting and about what difference it makes.”
This campaign will also remember the centennial of the Ocoee Massacre, the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history, when a white mob on Election Day lynched a Black man dedicated to expanding voting access and murdered other Black citizens, then burned the city’s Black community to the ground.
She said that other than empowering people with the information they need to cast a ballot, it’s important to drive home the point that everyone has a say in our elections.
“We know that every vote counts. And one of my biggest concerns is that people just won’t show up, they’ll think, ‘What does it matter?’ It matters a lot,” Pickar said. “The thing our democracy counts on is the vote.”
The league co-president pointed out a few important dates for Central Floridians voting in our upcoming elections. Though the registration deadline for Florida’s Aug. 18 primary has passed, voters can request a mail ballot until Aug. 8. Early voting takes place Aug. 3-16 and mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election night.
For November’s general election, the deadline for voter registration or updating party affiliation in Florida is Oct. 5.
Pickar said the website vote411.org, a resource from the League of Women Voters Education Fund, provides people with information on voter registration and local candidates, though the group does not make endorsements or recommendations.
In addition, she said that Florida voters can check the status of their mail ballot on their supervisor of elections website.
Orange County’s League of Women Voters, including Pickar, sees the effort to inform voters as a way of paying tribute to the suffragists of a century ago.
“These women were arrested, they were beaten, tortured and force-fed. They marched and worked for 70 some years to get the right to vote. And we have to keep honoring that,” Pickar said. “Today, we still see evidence of voter suppression and voter oppression. It’s not all gone. It’s not all fixed. We have to fight harder every day to be sure that every single American citizen can vote.”
To learn more, visit lwvoc.org and vote411.org or find the Orange County league on Facebook and Instagram.
Orlando Sentinel Article HERE