The Florida Democratic Party is pushing its statewide voter registration effort on the heels of a violent protest organized by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., this weekend.
The FDP said it was inspired by Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, who tweeted this weekend she would be responding to the white supremacist movement by “promoting democracy” through voter registration.
"They bring torches to push hate,” Grimes tweeted. “We bring registration cards to promote democracy. Which side are you on? #Charlottesville #RallytoRegister.”
FDP chairman Stephen Bittel offered a message of hope for voters in the midst of the chaotic protest, which left one dead and several others injured.
"The white supremacists who organized the hateful demonstrations and violent protests in Charlottesville want to intimidate us--they will not,” Bittel said. “We will not fall silent, and we will not allow these acts of terror to subdue us.”
Bittel went on to say the party aimed to “counteract these acts of hate with hope,” encouraging all Floridians to participate in the rally.
Further details were not available at the time of this article’s release, though the press release indicated there would be multiple locations and times for Floridians to register to vote.
The FDP has often been criticized for not doing enough to reach voters but with new leadership onboard, it appears state Dems are prepared to start anew and attempt to expand their voter rolls to fight back in 2018 and beyond.
Democrats currently have more registered voters in Florida than Republicans, with about 4.9 million voters compared to the GOP’s 4.5 million. Independents account for nearly 3.1 million voters across the state.
Florida politicians -- both Republicans and Democrats -- condemned the Charlottesville protest over the weekend, directly blasting white supremacy and bigotry as an out of place sentiment and movement in the U.S.
Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Marco Rubio were on the same page in criticizing the events over the weekend, taking aim at white supremacists and hatred nationwide.
“I condemn the hatred and lack of respect for others,” Nelson said. “It turned into fatal violence which must not be tolerated.
“Nothing patriotic about #Nazis,the #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists,” wrote U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. on Twitter over the weekend. “It's the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be…these haters in #Charlotesville are agitators in search of relevance & publicity for a vile cause very few people support. Can't ignore them, but also don't give them relevance they crave. Only way they win is if they can turn the rest of us against each other.”
Details on the voter registration events are forthcoming.