Florida Democratic Party seizes on Charlottesville for voter registration push

A candlelight vigil drew more than 100 people to mark the deadly weekend in Charlottesville, Va. The Florida Democratic Party hopes the events in Virginia spur voter registrations. (Meghan McCarthy/The Palm Beach Post)

Within hours of Saturday’s car-ramming death at a demonstration against white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel was urging Floridians to “Take a stand — register to vote, join your local Democratic Party, and defend our democracy.”

The party on Saturday night announced that it is planning “Rally to Register” events across the state this coming Saturday in response to the deadly gathering of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members in Charlottesville.

“The white supremacists who organized the hateful demonstrations and violent protests in Charlottesville want to intimidate us–they will not,” Bittel said in a statement released by the party Saturday night. “We will not fall silent, and we will not allow these acts of terror to subdue us. We are proud to be launching a statewide effort to expand the vote and counteract these acts of hate with hope. We are encouraging every Floridian to participate and #RallytoRegister on Saturday, August 19th. Take a stand–register to vote, join your local Democratic Party, and defend our democracy.”

The state party said it consulted county Democratic parties and clubs about the idea and “the response from local Democratic leaders was overwhelming–Democrats are fully committed to responding to hate with hope.”

Details of the upcoming registration effort have not been released.

Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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