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Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County object to voter drives at Chick-fil-A

Customers lined up in October for unlimited nuggets and fries at the Chick Fil-A St. Pete Beach location. The site is one of nine spots where the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections will hold voter drives on Tuesday.

Monica Herndon I TIMES

Customers lined up in October for unlimited nuggets and fries at the Chick Fil-A St. Pete Beach location. The site is one of nine spots where the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections will hold voter drives on Tuesday.

27

September

A controversy is clucking in Pinellas County over chicken sandwiches, sweet tea and voter-registration cards.

The Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County is crying foul over Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark's decision to hold voter-registration drives Tuesday at nine Chick-fil-A locations in the county. Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain known for putting faith ahead of profits, supports conservative causes. 

The push to reach new voters will take place between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on National Voter registration day.

Susan McGrath, leader of the Stonewall Democrats and head of the Pinellas Democratic Party, said the decision to use Chick-fil-A would be similar to a Democratic supervisor of elections holding the event at Planned Parenthood.

The release announcing the voter drive encourages voters to "eat more chicken and register to vote" on Tuesday. 

McGrath said the group supports the effort to register more voters, But She called the move "partisan" to hold the event at Chick-fil-A and said it might be more transparent to hold the voter drives at the Republican Party headquarters.

"While some Democrats may occasionally dine at Chick-fil-A (and perhaps even members of the LGBT community), the coordination of Pinellas voter registration activities with this right-leaning business very clearly conveys that your office is targeting Republican-leaning voters," McGrath wrote in a letter to Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark.

Jason Latimer, Clark's spokesman, said the office will hold 350 voter drives across the county this year. He declined to comment on McGrath's allegations, but he did say the restaurants are stand-alone facilities that draw lots of consumers.

Still, McGrath isn't satisfied.

She noted Clark's objection last week to open a satellite office for early voting in neighborhoods south of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The areas are predominately African-American. The closest location to vote early is in downtown St. Petersburg. Two black pastors and Mayor Rick Kriseman also support opening the satellite office.

McGrath said she its no coincidence that Clark is trying to register more Republican voters throughout the county. Chick-fil-A isn't located south of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

"It's a time when Pinellas County is leaning Democratic," McGrath said Tuesday.

 

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 11:17am]

    

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