The Democrat behind the “Bring It Home Florida” campaign returned to USF to express his gratitude to the Florida Democratic Party and encourage voter registration efforts.
Former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum presented a $100,000 check to the Democratic Party on behalf of Forward Florida Action — a nonprofit organization — at the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater on Thursday afternoon.
“This $100,000 check that we are pleased to write to the Democratic Party is simply a down payment,” Gillum said. “We have a lot more coming your way and a lot more coming to organizations that are a part of our alliance to get 1 million people registered and re-engaged.”
With this money, Gillum and Forward Florida Action plan to register people in the 2020 and 2022 elections.
An additional $400,000 will go toward registering minority groups.
“This will benefit organizations all around the state that are working in black and brown communities to make sure that we register those individuals,” Gillum said.
Gillum then went into speaking about the results of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to 1.4 million convicted felons.
This is equivalent to one-in-five potential voters within the black community, according to the Sentencing Project.
After Amendment 4 was implemented on Jan 8, Gillum said there was 44 percent more registrations.
“We have seen more registration in those first three months than in a combined nine years,” Gillum said.
He then shared his dissatisfaction with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) approval of the bill that will now require the amendment to have a poll tax — which will make felons pay all court fines before being reestablished into the voting system.
The bill has yet to be signed by DeSantis.
“A valid initiative that received 65 percent of the vote from Florida voters,” Gillum said. “A valid initiative that got more votes than I got. A valid initiative that got more votes than Ron DeSantis got, yet it took the Florida Legislature under Republican leadership no time to begin to undo that process.
“We are calling him to do the right thing by vetoing.”
The crowd cheered after Gillum said President Donald Trump must be voted out of the White House in 2020.
“We are committed to having a president that sees all of us and respects us — we’re looking for a president that is qualified,” Gillum said.
Even though the intimate crowd was made up of people wearing “Bring It Home” merchandise, Gillum encouraged them to support other representative candidates.
“My name isn’t on the ballot and that doesn’t matter to me,” Gillum said. “It is the fact that all of us are on the ballot, everyone with names we know and don’t know because elections have consequences.
“We are here today not for ourselves, but for making a better Florida and quite frankly for a better country.”