We’ve had nearly a week of early voting here in the Sunshine State and the Democrats have been out in force. So far, according to the Florida Division of Elections, Democrats have 118,000 more early votes than Republicans. Still, it’s all to play for.
On Saturday, the first day of early voting, at a library in West Tampa, the line of almost exclusively black voters was already snaking around the block when the polls opened at 7 a.m. One kid told me that his momma had dragged him out of bed to go vote, others were excited to be part of reelecting President Obama —many were voting for the first time.
On Sunday, 300 miles south in Miami Gardens, the lines were even longer. Souls to the Polls, the traditional gathering of African-American church people to go vote the Sunday before the election, was well under way. People were standing in line for up to six hours to cast their ballot and any previously perceived enthusiasm gap among lefties seems to have disappeared — and former Governor Charlie Crist stepped up to call on Governor Rick Scott to extend early voting to accommodate the massive lines, which is something that is highly unlikely to happen considering Scott’s glaring contempt for the electorate.
Scott has been the driving force behind efforts to disenfranchise minority voters here in Florida. His attempted voter purge of tens of thousands of minority voters, which resulted in discovering exactly one confirmed case of voter fraud, appears to have backfired — the toxic Republican Governor (even Romney has declined all opportunities to campaign with him) has galvanized the ground forces on the left and pissed off so many people that thousands of the previously unenthused are now determined to go out and vote.
Florida, and its 29 Electoral College votes, slipped into the Romney column after the first debate but the numbers have been tightening to a statistical tie ever since. An electorate fed up with the constant bombardment of negative TV ads and an almost daily ground assault by both campaigns has even the most partisan of Floridians just wishing this were all over. Well, on Wednesday they will have their wish, and the rest of the country may wake up to realize it was Florida and not Ohio that drove the final nail into Romney’s coffin of vaulting ambition.