“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves -and the only way they could do that is by not voting at all." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Early Voting Sites Are Open!
Early voting for the Jax City Council At-Large Group 3 Special Election started on Saturday and runs through February 20th. Voters can cast their ballots at any site from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Note that not all of the usual early voting sites are open for this special election.
Tracye Polson is the progressive candidate in the race to fill the seat of the late Tom Hazouri. The county Supervisor of Elections is predicting a dismally low turn-out of 10-20% and the margin of victory is expected to be razor-thin. Be sure to VOTE if you haven't already. If you Voted-by-Mail, you can check the status of your ballot here. The last chance to cast your vote is on Election Day, February 22. And please urge friends and family to vote! This election will shape the future of Jacksonville.
GOTV and Help Tracye Over the Finish Line
If you have an hour - or two - you can help get out the vote for Tracye Polson in the final campaign stretch! Here are some ways you can get involved:
Text out the Vote several times weekly with Duval Dems.
Daily phone bank with Duval Dems.
Canvass on Sunday February 20th 3-4:30 PM.
Donate to help get Tracye's message out.
You can also help activate voters by volunteering with the Polson campaign to knock on doors, phone bank, and sign wave at early voting sites to encourage everyone in Duval County to VOTE POLSON! Sign up here.
As we pass the midway point of the session, there is a lot to be anxious about. Governor DeSantis is threatening to veto Congressional redistricting maps proposed by the legislature in an effort to dilute minority districts, lawmakers are trying to impose financial penalties on school districts that adopted mask mandates, voting and reproductive rights are under attack, and GOP officials are trying to figure out how to give the governor his own pot of money and a state militia. The most timely way to follow and respond to the action on a wide range of issues is to sign up for the UUJF's Action Alerts. But here are a couple of important bills moving this week and what you can do about them.
On Tuesday, February 15, the Senate Rules Committee will hold hearings on SB 1024 - Net Metering. A healthy and sustainable environment demands that fossil fuels be replaced with renewable sources of energy. Net metering makes rooftop solar installations attractive investments for homeowners, benefits the environment, and benefits the Florida economy. Oppose efforts in the Florida Legislature to reduce the existing Net Metering payback to homeowners by contacting your legislators and urging them to vote NO on SB 1024
On Wednesday, February 16th, reproductive rights advocates will mobilize in Tallahassee for the House floor vote on HB 5 which bans abortions after 15 weeks. Find out more information on the rally and how you can participate here. If Twitter is your thing, you can also join Floridians for Reproductive Freedom, JaxNOW and others today (February 14) from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. for Valentines @ the Florida Capitol, a TWEET STORM urging legislators to oppose the ban. Find out how here.
Mark Your Calendar for February 24 BAM & Indivisible Mandarin Joint Meeting!
Come meet fellow progressives on Thursday, February 24, when Beaches Activists Movement (BAM) and Mandarin Indivisible (IM) are hosting a joint Zoom meeting. Data wizard & longtime Duval activist Kim Glasgal will walk us through the results of what we hope will be Tracye Polson's victory in the Special Election. We'll learn a lot about voting patterns in Duval and what it will take to win more races this year.
In addition, Florida Congressional Candidate Rebekah Jones will brief us on her campaign against Matt Gaetz. If you don't recognize her name, Jones is the scientist & whistleblower who took on the DeSantis administration about the state's Covid data.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. All are welcome, but registration is required. Click here to register for the event and submit questions for the speakers.
Florida Redistricting: Good News & Bad News
Last week, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously rejected a request by Governor DeSantis for an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of Jacksonville's majority Black Congressional District 5. This is a setback for the governor who proposed his own redistricting map that cut two of the state's four majority Black districts and created two GOP-dominated districts in Northeast Florida. Undeterred, DeSantis is now amping up pressure on legislative leaders and threatening to veto any proposed redistricting maps that maintain the boundaries of FL District 5, as well as another majority Black district in Orlando. The state Senate has drawn maps that preserve these districts. DeSantis' antics are widely viewed as part of the GOP's national strategy to regain control of Congress in upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, state House and Senate maps were officially passed by the Legislature. Unlike Congressional district maps, the Governor can not veto state legislative maps. Read the joint resolution here.
Local Redistricting Maps - Last Chance to Weigh in
This Thursday, February 17th is the last chance to tell the Jax City Council what you think about proposed local redistricting maps. A final public hearing will be held at William M. Raines High School, 3663 Raines Avenue. So far, presentations at the previous public hearings have been critical of the redistricting process and its lack of transparency.
This is our last chance to weigh in on the voting districts that will shape our area's politics for the next decade. Each speaker is allowed just 3 minutes to comment or ask questions. Resources to help us prepare include the JAX Tributary's Redistricting Primer and theCitizen's Guide prepared by DWIN, BAM, and a host of other local groups. The city needs to hear all our voices.
Some Interesting Reads & Food for Thought
UF Professor Testifies -Remember the gag imposed by the University of Florida on professors testifying on changes to Florida's voting laws? Worried about angering the governor, UF blocked faculty from participating in hearings challenging the new law. After a court ruling upholding their First Amendment rights, UF Political Science Professor Daniel Smith shared his analysis of data provided by Florida’s supervisors of elections to draw conclusions about what the restrictions — which the Legislature adopted last year as SB 90 — mean for actual voters. Not surprisingly, the news was not good for the governor and GOP-dominated legislature that enacted the restrictions. Read more here.
What Will It Take To Be More Like Georgia? We can turn Florida BLUE by investing in on-the-ground infrastructure and building a strong state party. Find out how it's being done in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina here.
Codger Power! Protests by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell against Spotify and its support of a prominent right-wing talk show host prompted this interesting NYT article on the political activism of aging boomers. Read more here.
Beaches Dems Host Elizabeth Andersen
Elizabeth Andersen, past chair of the Duval County School Board and current member representing the beaches, will be the featured guest at the next meeting of the Beaches Democratic Club on Tuesday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m. Andersen recently announced that she is running for re-election. As chair, she effectively dealt with the Covid crisis and threats by the governor, teacher shortage, and other issues.
The BDC will hold a pre-meeting conversation with Tracye Polson at 6 p.m. Use this ZOOM link to join the meetings!