By Jason Smith
MIAMI – Recent changes to Florida’s election laws require voters to renew their application for vote-by-mail ballots each election cycle. Supervisors of Elections and community advocacy groups across the state are educating voters on this significant change in election law.
The South Dade Alphas are doing their part to inform voters to renew their vote-by-mail applications. On Saturday, August 26, 2023, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Iota Pi Lambda and Eta Delta Chapters held a voter phone banking activity which reached nearly 600 voters.
The organizations partnered with Equal Ground Florida to host the phone bank. Equal Ground is a community-centered organization which educates and empowers voters in underserved communities.
“Educating voters about their rights under the new state laws is key to protecting our democracy,” said Takevess Hatcher, president of the Iota Pi Lamba chapter. “With every phone call we make it is more likely that the voter will participate in our local and national elections.”
The phone banking activity was held at THC Tax Services in Florida City and focused on voters in the southern region of Miami-Dade County, a rural area with a large bloc of Black and Hispanic voters.
According to the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections website, “due to recent changes in Florida law, all requests for vote-by-mail ballots expired at the end of 2022. Therefore, any request on file has expired.”
Joshua Brooks, president of the Eta Delta Chapter at the University of Miami, took time on his Saturday to help call voters and said he found the experience rewarding.
“Our ancestors fought for the right to vote. Everyone must do their part to protect the right to vote and inform others about their rights under the new laws,” Brooks said.
Voter engagement is a national priority for Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. The international organization has a long-standing program called, “A Voteless People is a Hopeless People,” which aims to boost voter participation locally and nationally.
“Our local chapters will continue to elevate our community through these voter engagement efforts because it’s the right thing to do and because our democracy depends on it,” said Chapter President Takevess Hatcher.