An interview with Jonathan Rodrigues from the Brazilian Community Center in Deerfield Beach.
During election season, we tend to hear a lot about the Cuban vote or the Jewish vote. Both are powerful voting blocs that attract the attention—and promises—of politicians.
A young Brazilian community organizer has his eye on what he hopes will become another voting bloc.
Jonathan Rodrigues lives in Pompano Beach and volunteers at the Brazilian Community Center in Deerfield Beach. He got his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago and spent much of his time there thinking about home—studying South Florida's Brazilian population and considering his own role in that communtity .
Rodrigues is a first-generation Brazilian American. “Historically that first generation is the generation that propels the community forward into civic engagement,” he said.
According to the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census, there are an estimated 21,000 Brazilians living in Broward County and another 12,000 in Miami-Dade. Rodrigues suspects that number is actually a lot higher.
“All you have to do is drive down Sample Road or North Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach and Pompano and you’ll see the proliferation of Brazilian small businesses.”
State election officials say they have received just over 1 million early votes and more than 1.5 million absentee ballots. Meanwhile, election officials are visiting Palm Beach County again. The county's election office has been plagued with printing problems on its absentee ballots.
State election officials say they're keeping an eye on Palm Beach County's operations, after a second printing mishap involving absentee ballots.
The first blunder involved 27,000 absentee ballots with a header missing above the judicial races. The ballots can't be read by Palm Beach County's vote tabulation machines, so election office workers are copying out those forms by hand onto new ballots.
In the spirit of today's festivities, here is a video from Florida New Majority (they have an office here in Miami) that warns Floridians that the only way to avoid a "Romney Zombie Apocalypse" is to vote.
The group says:
In a state plagued by natural disasters, exploding pythons, and the strangest politics on the planet, Florida voters are bracing for the latest horror -- zombie apocalypse!
Besides the 11 proposed amendments to the state Constitution, Miami-Dade dwellers will also be deciding the fate of 8 proposed charter amendments.
These charter amendments are significantly shorter than the state-level changes, but there are quite a few of them-- and like most ballot measures, they can be kind of confusing. However, here is our breakdown created with the help of The Florida League of Women Voters' 2012 Voting Guide.
Concerns about problems at the polls appear to be greater and coming earlier than usual this election year. Already, mysterious phone calls in Florida and Virginia have told voters they can vote by phone — which they cannot do.
And until this week, there were anonymous billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning that voter fraud is a felony — which it is.
The scorecard from this weekend's early voting in Florida is unclear this Monday morning but there was a persuasive impression -- subject to fact-finding -- that Democrats had at least won the initial show-up competition. But the Miami Herald reports Republicans excelled in their own specialty, absentee voting:
Reports surfaced this week that fraudulent voter intimidation letters have been circulating the state. The letters warn voters that they have 15 days to prove they are citizens or they will be removed from the state's voter rolls.
This incident has prompted investigations from both state officials and federal officials.
While these sorts of shenanigans are not uncommon during big elections, groups are already anticipating more of this when Floridians start voting at the polls tomorrow.