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Statewide Campaign Aims To Help Black And Brown Voters Cure Rejected Ballots

A new statewide coalition of four progressive Florida organizations is helping Black and Brown voters cure rejected vote-by-mail ballots.

Curing a ballot refers to the period of time in which a voter can fix mistakes, rather than having the ballot rejected.

The Coalition for Black and Brown Ballot Access was started about a month ago and is made up of four different organizations: the Hispanic Federation of Florida, Black Voters Matter, Poder Latinx and the Equal Ground Education Fund.

“The reason the coalition decided to put their resources together was because we wanted to focus particularly on areas across the state, one, where there is a high number of Black and Brown voters that isn't necessarily reflected in the electorate, and two, areas across the state where you have disaffected Black and Brown voters — Black and Brown voters who are registered, but for whatever reason may not have voted or have only voted in one of the last four elections,” said campaign manager Phillip Jerez.

The coalition has been running ads in 23 counties across the state, emailing voters whose ballots have been rejected to make sure they have all the information they need to get their ballots cured, and texting disaffected voters to emphasize that especially in Florida — a state that is typically won or lost by small margins — Black and Brown voters make a difference.

According to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office, as of Weds. evening, Oct. 28, 140 curable vote-by-mail ballots had been received from voters who identify as Black that were either not signed, signed by someone else or had a signature that did not match what was on record. The SOE does not track how many vote-by-mail ballots are still outstanding from different groups of voters, but Jerez worries there could be thousands of minority voters who have not yet returned their ballots.

Jerez said this is clearly a problem but he doesn’t blame anybody.

“I think we're just in such a different election season with the pandemic and you have a lot of folks who are voting by mail for the first time,” he said. “We're doing this work because we believe that black and brown voters will decide the election.”


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