Sunday, July 22, 2018
Politics

Democrats object to Chick-fil-A voter registration drive

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

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

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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.

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.

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"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 to Clark.

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

Still, McGrath isn't satisfied. She noted Clark's objection last week to opening 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.

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