- Faith & Family
Even before Election Day on Tuesday, Florida’s voters had already decided that they were not going to be denied their opportunity to cast their ballot. Over 4.5 million people voted early equating to 38 percent of the State’s 12 million registered voters. This time around, more Republicans voted in-person as compared to 2008. As for Democrats, who have 167,000 more ballots than their GOP counterparts, a higher percentage chose to exercise their voice with absentee ballots. But as always, the lion’s share of votes from Blacks in Florida came in the form of in-person voting. Yes, there is still something empowering about walking up to that ballot box and making one’s mark in history.
Black voters make up 14 percent of the electorate — 90 percent are Democrats. As of Tuesday morning, Black voters had cast more than one-fourth of the State’s early votes and nine percent of the absentee ballots.
If you paid attention at all, you saw what we experienced — Blacks coming out in record numbers beginning a week ago Saturday on the first day of early voting. There were old men and women in wheelchairs or making their way with canes. Young children were skipping beside their parents and not complaining when they had to wait long hours to vote. There were marchers striding down 22nd Avenue shouting to the tops of their lungs, “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.” There were people distributing water to the thirsty and encouragement to the weary — determined to make sure that they didn’t let the heat or the wait or other less important issues deter them from their right and duty to vote.
We may not have the ability to predict the outcome of this presidential race, but as far as Black voters go, we can say without reserve, that Black folks showed up and showed out. From the first note that was sung in the Caleb Center last Sunday afternoon to the prayers and proclamations of local preachers and politicians, one message stood out above all others — we will not allow anyone to take away our right to vote. This will become one of those moments where we can say with true conviction, “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”