“Florida’s former top coronavirus data scientist has launched a website showing far more COVID-19 information than she said the state allowed her to report as an employee, including statistics contradicting Florida’s official coronavirus numbers and the push to reopen the state,” the Palm Beach Post reports.
A new St. Pete Polls survey in Florida shows Michael Bloomberg leading the Democratic primary race with 27%, followed by Joe Biden at 26%, Pete Buttigieg at 11%, Bernie Sanders at 10%, Amy Klobuchar at 9% and Elizabeth Warren at 5%.
When it was first learned that the Rudy Giuliani associates who were arrested had contributed $50,000 to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign last year, the governor’s spokeswoman described them as donors who DeSantis didn’t know well — or at all, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Four days later, videos and photos of the men huddled together during DeSantis’ victory party emerged. Additional photos “show an unmistakable ease between DeSantis and the two men, enough to warrant celebratory hugs.”
Bloomberg: “Florida’s reputation as America’s tightest — and wildest — swing state should stay intact, as a battle over felons’ voting rights seems destined for the courts. At the least, it’s increasingly looking like Florida’s 1.4 million disenfranchised ex-convicts won’t be the potent voting bloc they might’ve been.”
“Seven months ago, almost two-thirds of voters approved Amendment 4, which restores registration rights to many felons. Florida had been one of three states, along with Kentucky and Iowa, where those convicted of a felony were permanently prohibited from registering without going through a lengthy clemency process, and many saw Floridians’ vote as bringing the state into the U.S. mainstream. Only those convicted of murder and sexual offenses still are excluded.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Joe Biden leading President Trump in a presidential race, 50% to 41%.
Other match ups:
- Bernie Sanders 48%, Trump 42%
- Elizabeth Warren 47%, Trump 43%
- Beto O’Rourke 45%, Trump 44%
- Pete Buttigieg 44%, Trump 43%
Said pollster Peter Brown: “Florida Republicans have won the last five major statewide elections, all by very close margins, but Sunshine State Democrats see these very early numbers as a sign that their losing streak might be coming to an end.”
Trump’s approval rating in Florida is underwater, 44% to 51%.
Daytona Beach News-Journal: “Voter registration records are public, as are felony criminal records. But a last-minute insertion into a bill that passed with overwhelming support on the final day of Florida’s legislative session aims to keep the public from seeing felon voting restoration records.”
“Lawmakers say the amendment protects felons from being singled out and harassed. But the change also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to track the progress of a November constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to more than 1 million felons.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “met with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week to discuss the revelation in the Mueller report that ‘at least one’ Florida county had its election information accessed by Russian hackers in 2016,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“On Tuesday, DeSantis told reporters that he had been briefed on that breach — which actually happened in two counties in Florida — but that he couldn’t share which counties had been the target.”
A federal judge is requiring 32 of Florida’s 67 counties to provide election materials and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters before the 2020 presidential primary, NBC News reports.
The decision “comes after several civic engagement groups and individuals sued the state secretary of state and elections supervisors last year for what they say was a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for not making available bilingual voting materials and assistance to the state’s growing number of Spanish speakers.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “said he will sign a bill that would require ex-felons in the state, who were granted the right to vote in a referendum last fall, to pay all financial obligations before they can head to the polls,” CNN reports.
ABC News: “In 2016, with 100 days until Election Day, the Trump campaign’s ground game in Florida was virtually nonexistent: Zero offices were up and running in the key swing state and little to no strategy was in place to maximize voter turnout. Nevertheless, thanks in part to major last-minute shifts in approach, the president flipped the state red, for the first time since George W. Bush won it in 2004, with just 1.2% more votes than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”
“This time, the reelection team is getting a head start to ensure Florida, the president’s second home, isn’t such a nail biter. The campaign has key staff already in place nearly a year and half before voters head to the polls in 2020 and thousands of volunteers ready to hit the pavement for the president.”
The consensus electoral map shows Florida is a Toss Up once again.
“In November, Florida voters approved a groundbreaking ballot measure that would restore voting rights for up to 1.5 million people with felony convictions. But the Republican-led Legislature voted on Friday to impose a series of sharp restrictions that could prevent tens of thousands of them from ever reaching the ballot box,” the New York Times reports.
“In a move that critics say undermines the spirit of what voters intended, thousands of people with serious criminal histories will be required to fully pay back fines and fees to the courts before they could vote. The new limits would require potential new voters to settle what may be tens of thousands of dollars in financial obligations to the courts, effectively pricing some people out of the ballot box.”
New York Times: “A Florida House panel this week approved a bill that would require former felons to pay fees and fines before having their voting rights restored, prompting criticism from those who say it would undermine a new amendment that allows more than a million former felons to vote again.”
“Supporters of the bill, approved by the Republican-controlled House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on Tuesday, contend that it is meant merely to resolve questions over how to put Amendment 4, which voters approved in November, into practice.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds 51% of voters say they definitely won’t vote for President Trump if he is the Republican candidate in the 2020 presidential race while another 31% say they definitely would vote for him and 14% say they would consider voting for him.
A new Bendixen & Amandi International poll in Florida finds just 40% of voters said they believed President Trump should be reelected, while 53% were opposed to a second term.
Politico: “After simmering behind the scenes for months, the conflict came to a boil when Scott accused Gaetz of witness intimidation for threatening Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer-turned-congressional-informant, via Twitter.”
“Once a semi-secret rivalry, the relationship changed in January after Gaetz helped lead the transition team for Scott’s successor, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and publicly criticized Scott for being disrespectful of the new GOP leader in Tallahassee.”
A new Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds voters are nearly evenly divided on if President Trump should be re-elected, with 46% saying he should be replaced, 45% saying he should be re-elected and the remainder unsure.
“Florida voters spoke clearly four weeks ago: They restored the right to vote to most convicted felons who complete their sentences,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“When it becomes Florida law in five weeks, an estimated 1.2 million felons will be eligible to rejoin the voter rolls. But at a statewide elections conference, it was obvious that confusion and uncertainty still hovers over implementation of Amendment 4.”
“The state announced that it has stopped transmitting documents counties use to remove convicted felons from the rolls. One official said the issue requires more research on how to carry out the will of the people.”
“Nearly 3,000 votes effectively disappeared during the machine recount of Florida’s midterm races, according to election records, calling into question whether officials relied on a flawed process to settle the outcome of three statewide contests,” the New York Times reports.