Election Day Liveblog: Voters head to the polls in Gainesville, Florida to vote on Amendment 1
March 24, 2009
Voters in Gainesville, Florida will head to the polls today to decide Amendment 1, a mean-sprited measure that would eliminates protections against discrimination and make it legal to fire someone from their job or kick them out of their home because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Here is the language of the amendment that voters will see on their ballots:
Shall the City Charter Be Amended to prohibit the adoption or enforcement of ordinances, regulations, rules, or policies that provide protected status, preferences, or discrimination claims based on classifications, characteristics, or orientations not recognized by the Florida Civil Right Act? The act recognizes race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap,marital and familial status. Additionally, this amendment voids existing ordinances concerning sexual orientation, gender identity, and other ordinances inconsistent with this amendment.
The Human Rights Campaign has been working with Equality is Gainesville Business/ Vote No on 1 to defeat this measure and has hosted phonebanks and dispatched members of our field team to Gainesville to help turn out the pro-equality vote. Polls opened today at 7 am. HRC's Regional Field DirectorSultan Shakirhas been in Gainesville for five weeks, running the field campaign to defeat today's ballot question. Focus on the Family and local opposition groups have used lies to scare voters here to eliminate job and other protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens. Luckily, we have the Mayor, the NAACP, and many other groups on our side. This battle ends today, with polls closing at 7pm. To see election results as they come in, go HERE. Sultan, who is is joined by HRC Field Organizer Karl Bach, will be sending us updates throughout the day from Gainesville as voters head to the polls. We'll be posting their updates on this thread as they come in, so keep checking back. ******** 8:50 PM: VICTORY!! Here are the final vote results: Amendment 1 Total Number of Precincts - 34 Precincts Reporting - 34 (100.0%) Times Counted - 20210/75219 (26.9%) Total Votes - 20092 YES - 8375 (41.68%) NO - 11717 (58.32% ) 8:28 PM (Sultan): Mathematically, we can't lose!!!! 8:02 PM: Current Precinct Results (Results do not include early or absentee votes): Amendment 1 Total Number of Precincts - 34 Precincts Reporting - 28 (82.4%) Times Counted - 15962/75219 (21.2%) Total Votes - 15897 YES - 6170 (38.81%) NO - 9727 (61.19%) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7:56 PM: Current Precinct Results (Results do not include early or absentee votes): Amendment 1 Total Number of Precincts - 34 Precincts Reporting - 27 (79.4% ) Times Counted - 13748/75219 (18.3% ) Total Votes - 13693 YES - 5686 (41.52%) NO - 8007 (58.48%) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7:35 PM: Current Precinct Results (Results do not include early or absentee votes): Amendment 1 Total Number of Precincts - 34 Precincts Reporting - 24 (70.6%) Times Counted - 12283/75219 (16.3%) Total Votes - 12234 YES - 5048 (41.26%) NO - 7186 (58.74%) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7:00 PM (Sultan): Polls are now closing. Student turnout and progressive turnout is very high! Hopefully, we'll know the outcome in about an hour. Thanks for all the support!!! 6:55 PM (Sultan): Just received a text message from a campus organizer that we just cracked 550 voters in Precinct 31. That's a student precinct that normally has extremely low turnout in city elections. We've got 2 minutes to go at one of our best precincts. A voter just told me that she had voted and so had 633 other people had as well We're looking good! 6:30 PM (Sultan):Here are two hilarious encounters I just had with Gainesville voters:
Me: "Can we count on you to vote No on Amendment 1?" Voter: (Gasp!) "What time do the polls close?" Me: "Thirty minutes!" Voter: "I'm going right now to vote No!" Minutes later, I flagged down a cyclist and yelled,
"Have u voted yet?"
"Going right now!"
"Can we count on u to vote No on Amendment 1?"
"That's why I'm going!"
5:00 PM (Sultan): It's 5pm and I'm off to canvass with our campaign manager, Joe. He was telling me a story about one of our campus voters. Joe asked him why he was voting and he said:
"Well... I wasn't planning on it but you guys have called me five times, every time I walked around campus last week you guys were everywhere putting fliers in my hand, and when I was in class today you guys called me and left me a message asking me to get out and vote. So I wasn't doing anything at this time, so I figured 'why not?' "
Another vote banked! 11:30 AM (Karl): We're getting a great reaction from voters entering the polls! Here are some pictures from Gainesville as our team prepared for Election Day:
9:00 AM (Sultan): I'm off to pull lists for our volunteer phone banks! As I got into my car, a woman walked up and thanked me for being out so early. "I voted no and I'm glad this is over!" she said. She laughed and continued, "I wasn't planning on voting but I got so many calls!" I just smiled It's great to know that our GOTV program is working. Normal turnout for an election like this is 16%. With early vote numbers showing turnout 4 times higher than most local elections, the supervisor of elections is predicting turnout to be 30%. In the office pool, I bet that turnout would be 22%. My revised estimates are 26%. I'll take any and all bets that are in by noon. Any takers? 8:30 AM (Sultan): It hasn't been all fun and games here on the west side. One voter threw my lit on the ground in a fit of rage after I handed it to him. (I guess he's not a fan nondiscrimination protections, eh?) By far, he seemed to be out-numbered by people who believe discrimination is wrong; however, we'll know for sure around 8 pm tonight. I'm curious to see how many people vote only on Amendment 1. One voter said: " You can absolutely count on me to vote No. It's the only reason I came to vote this morning." Another said: "I'm voting no. I made a special point to come here this morning." It makes you feel good that so many people are willing to stand up and see through the lies and scare tactics the other side is putting out. One guy even asked why the opposition only talks about bathrooms. "Keep men out of women's restrooms" is their tag line. They left out, "And...make it legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender." As the president of the Alachua County NAACP Michael Bowie put it: "Charter Amendment 1 is nothing else but the production of a discriminatory policy and we do not, as an organization, support that." I agree! 8:00 AM (Sultan): Last night, for our big election-eve GOTV push, we had over 70 phone bankers dialing fair-minded voters here in Gainesville. Driven by the desire to support their friends and family in defeating one of the nastiest Charter Amendments Gainesville has ever seen, volunteers from across the country dialed over 6,000 voters to make sure they knew about Amendment 1. The amendment to "prohibit the city from providing certain civil rights" is on the ballot today and voters have already started voting. From what voters are saying to me this morning, I feel good that Gainesville voters know about the Amendment and its real purpose of discrimination. One voter just handed my lit back to me and said, "I already know about it. I've also texted all of my friends to tell them to come vote No!" 6:52 AM (Sultan):I've already given my first "can I count on you to vote NO on 1?" rap to an early bird voter here on the west side of Gainesville. The response was, "That's what I plan on doing!" We're off to a great start, and the polls aren't even open! Previous posts on HRC in Gainesville, Florida:
- Final Call: Volunteers make calls to Gainesville voters to defeat Amendment 1
- Voters to decide on anti-discrimination law next week in Gainesville, Florida
- HRC volunteers work the phones ahead of March 24 vote on anti-gay amendment in Gainesville, FL
- Phone bank experience leads to new gay appreciation for connecting with voters on LGBT equality
- Gainesville, Florida group gearing up to fight anti-LGBT amendment
- Help Protect Equality in Gainesville, Florida!
Other HRC web info on Florida:
[Legal Disclaimer: Paid Political Advertisement sponsored and paid for in-kind by Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036. Approved by Equality is Gainesville’s Business.]
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