'Souls to polls:' FAMU band, marches and a 106-year-old voter
Early voting in Florida will end on Sunday, and it won't end with a whimper. Democrats will hold events at more than a dozen different locations from Tallahassee to Miami in an effort to get as many African-American voters to the polls as possible.
Local pastors and politicians, gospel choirs, live DJs and neighborhood marches will amplify the get-out-the-vote message. Former U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman will be at an event at Miramar City Hall in South Broward. The FAMU Marching 100 band will perform at an event at 1:30 p.m. on Adams Street Commons adjacent to Tallahassee City Hall.
A Miami GOTV event will feature Desiline Victor, who attracted national publicity in 2012 when, at the age of 102, she stood in line for hours to vote in North Miami and became a symbol of a Democratic effort to expand early voting in Florida. Mrs. Victor, now 106, will be at a press conference at Shalom Community Church in North Miami. Other early afternoon events will be held in Miami, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale and at three locations in Palm Beach County.
Black turnout quickly intensified in Florida Thursday following personal appeals by President Barack Obama at events in Miami and Jacksonville, according to an analysis of data by University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith.
Souls to the Polls on the Sunday before Election Day was banned by the Legislature in 2011, but it galvanized black turnout in a state where today 15 percent of all voters are black.
The Republican Legislature changed the law in 2013 and gave counties the option to extend early voting through Sunday, and it will be held in 11 counties: Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, and Pinellas.