Faith in Florida’s final ‘Souls to the Polls’ push underway in Miami-Dade, St. Pete – Florida Politics

Religious nonprofit Faith in Florida is making its final drive this election cycle to activate minority voters through events now underway in Miami-Dade County and St. Petersburg.

The Orlando-headquartered group is holding two “Souls to the Polls” events on Tuesday — Election Day — from 12-5 p.m.

One is at New Generation Missionary Baptist Church in the Miami-Dade city of Opa-locka, 940 Caliph St.

The other is a block party with live entertainment and food at William Park in St. Petersburg, 350 Second Ave.

“This is our last push,” Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida, told Florida Politics. “Knowing that we normally draw such a large voting audience, we’re praying this last pitch will get all registered voters out to vote.”

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The two events cap a series the organization has hosted in November to encourage the participation of Black voters, who overwhelmingly lean Democratic, and other members of other minority groups prone to under-participation at the polls.

They’re also meant to boost confidence among Florida’s roughly 1.5 million ex-convicts who had their voting rights restored through a 2018 constitutional amendment but may still be reluctant to exercise that right for fear of arrest.

At least in part, that fear stems from the August arrest of 20 felons who illegally casted ballots in the 2020 election. Several claimed they had been given the OK from election officials and were unaware they could not vote if they’d been convicted of murder or felony sexual assault.

Thomas, who has organized “Souls to the Polls” for more than a decade, said Faith in Florida has arrangements to help.

“We know there have been some fear tactics set up (to deter participation by) our returning citizens, but we want to reassure them that we have things in place,” said Thomas, who has organized “Souls to the Polls” for more than a decade.

“If they are arrested (for voting), we have allies who are working to make sure they’re bailed out.”

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