From the Chair’s Desk — Your Weekly Update

23 mins read

Enthusiasm is at an all-time high in Florida! Over 800 volunteers fanned out across the state last weekend to register voters and ensure voters understand what is at stake in this election — more evidence of the excitement among Democrats to take back the Florida legislature and kick Donald Trump out of the White House.

Terrie Rizzo
Florida Democratic Party

We also had a major win for democracy this week. Regarding Amendment 4, the courts have told Ron DeSantis and the GOP loudly and clearly that requiring payment to vote is unconstitutional. It is time for the Florida Legislature to repeal the DeSantis Poll Tax, now! We know Republicans will continue to fight this ruling, which is why we must vote them out.

As we continue to move toward our Presidential Preference Primary, all eyes are turning to Florida. Let’s keep up the great work across the state: organizing, registering voters, enrolling vote-by-mail, door knocking, phone banking, post carding, digital messaging, and so much more in every county across the state!

As of Saturday, February 22, there are exactly 257 days — 8 months, 14 days — to November 3, 2020.

P.S. I know the newsletters are long, but we have so much important information to share. Please read to the end for essential information and updates.

FDP Staff Training

All FDP staff will be attending staff training February 25-27 and will be slower to respond to emails and calls during this time. During these educational few days, staff will be focusing on best practices, planning, and our 2020 goals.

Voter Registration

Last week’s Weekend of Action topped all previous voter registration efforts by FDP this cycle — with over 800 volunteers at 200+ events across the state. We collected nearly 1,000 voter registration forms during the weekend, putting us at over 1,300 registrations for the week – our first week exceeding 1,000! With still a week left in February, we have already more than doubled our January voter registrations and are on track to achieve our goal of 200,000 voter registrations by the August Primary! Despite some misleading news stories, we are out-registering Republicans in Florida.

Our next statewide Voter Registration Weekend of Action is March 13-15

Our Florida VAN Transition

In accordance with our Path to Power directive, FDP is starting the campaign to elect Democrats up and down the ticket earlier than ever. Our transition to a single VAN committee started Friday, giving us time to work out kinks before we have a presidential nominee. All DECs and State Caucuses should begin using the Our Florida 2020 VAN committee.

DEC and State Caucus VAN Administrators can access the “Our Florida 2020 – DEC Onboarding” VAN training in FDP University for steps to access this new VAN committee. If you have not already enrolled in FDP University, email to request access to FDP University and request an Enrollment Key to access the VAN course.

Party Affairs is also hosting a conference call with FDP Field Director Chris Hill to review the transition process on Friday, February 28 at 4 p.m. EST. DEC Chairs, State Caucus Presidents, or designated DEC and Caucus VAN administrators can register here for the call.

Terrie’s Travels

What a great (and busy) week we’ve had. Last Saturday, Terrie joined over 50 fired-up Dems to register voters in the rain in Lake Worth (Palm Beach County)
Terrie was in Ocala Monday for Marion County’s “In It To Win It” fundraiser, their first $500 per person event, which was a tremendous success. Congratulations to DEC Chair LaVonda McCandless and the Marion County team!
On Tuesday, Terrie attended the First Annual Democratic Disability Caucus Luncheon in Tampa (Hillsborough County). Kudos to Caucus Chair Karen Clay and her team for a wonderful event. Guest speakers Councilman Luis Viera and Brian Clay spoke about the important issues facing persons with disabilities, which includes 1 out of every 4 in the US.
Tuesday evening there was an FDP fundraiser in Tampa in support of the Voter Protection program with FDP Voter Protection Director Brandon Peters. Party leaders from several surrounding counties attended. Thank you to all who participated in this important effort to build our voter protection program. As we know, voter protection is more important this year than ever.
And on Thursday night, Terrie attended the Sarasota DEC’s Sarasota Society event. Congratulations to Chair JoAnne DeVries and the entire Sarasota team – Sarasota has gone over 100,000 registered Dems for the first time ever!

Next week we will be attending events in Indian River, Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties.

FDP Department Office Hours

FDP staff is available to help you. You can reach these departments during their dedicated office hours:

Finance Department – Fundraising Tuesday 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST Data Team – VAN, Mobilize, Send Dem Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST Tuesday, Thursday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST  submit a Data Ticket anytime
Voter Protection Thursday 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. ESTCyber Security Monday, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. EST Friday, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST

Monthly Incentive Grants

INCENTIVE GRANTS ARE DOUBLING!!! FDP believes in all the work you are doing, and as a result we are doubling monthly incentive grant payments! Starting March 1, $1300 per month is available to the DECs and State Caucuses that participate in the program and hit monthly voter contact goals. We will hold a conference call on Friday, February 28 at 4 p.m. EST for those of you who are interested in continuing in the program. We’ll discuss changes in goals (from forms to shifts) and why the changes were required. We’ll also review formulas for calculating goals and how you record data to receive payment from FDP

Democracia al Día

Last week on our Spanish-language radio show, Adelante Florida’s Evelyn Pérez-Verdia and Forward Florida’s Karla Alvarado joined host Julio C Camacho to discuss the Presidential Preference Primary Voter Registration deadline and how Democrats are engaging Hispanic voters in this election. FDP Deputy Communications Director, Luisana Pérez Fernández, also provided an overview of the election in New Hampshire, the last debate, and what is to follow until Super Tuesday.

Presidential Preference Primary Key Dates

  • February 22: Last day for DEC Chairs in counties with only mandatory Early Voting days to designate Early Voting Poll Watchers to the SOE
  • March 2: First day of optional Early Voting
  • March 3: Last day for DEC Chairs to designate Election Day Poll Watchers to the SOE
  • March 7, 5 p.m.: Last day to request a mail ballot
  • March 7-14: Mandatory Early Voting in all counties
  • March 13-15: FDP statewide Voter Registration Weekend of Action
  • March 17: Election Day
  • March 19, 5 p.m.: Deadline to file ballot cure affidavits or evidence of voter eligibility

Voter Protection Hotline

Our 24-hour Voter Protection Hotline launched in August, nearly 15 months before Election Day, as part of our full commitment to ensuring every legal vote is counted.

As the GOP continues efforts to suppress the vote, it’s important we regularly share information about our Voter Protection Hotline. Use our Voter Protection Hotline Toolkit for sample posts, tweets, and graphics.

Faith Weekend of Action

Last week’s Faith Weekend of Action saw Democratic elected officials, community leaders and Democrats of faith speaking in dozens of worship services in every corner of the state — promoting voter registration ahead of the Florida Presidential Primary registration deadline, and speaking to core Democratic values and policies consistent with faith communities and posing a stark contrast to the personal actions and policies embraced by the Donald Trump and the Republican Party. In addition to Democrats attending 30+ worship services across the state, we also secured more than 2,000 signatures to a petition for people of faith who are committed to voting for the Democratic nominee.

Polk County Field Organizer Taylor Aguilera spoke to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lakeland and registered ten voters. Their Social Justice Committee committed to staffing an all-day voter registration event this Saturday, and their spiritual director was so inspired by the congregation’s reaction to Taylor’s announcement that she is planning a GOTV sermon the Sunday before the primary!

Democrats of Faith was born out of thousands of Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith who are standing up and saying “enough is enough” — Trump and the Republican Party’s cruel policies and behaviors do not represent us. In the lead up to the general election, our Democrats of Faith program will visit more than 200 churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship to promote voter registration and to organize, educate and turn out people of faith who oppose Trump and the Republican Party’s cruel and immoral behavior and policies.

County Spotlight: Sumter

Sumter County had no Voter Protection program in 2018, but now has 4 voter protection trainers, 115 trained poll watchers, plus Boiler Room volunteers scheduled to cover Early Voting and Election Day shifts during the Presidential Preference Primary!

Sumter County in Central Florida is known for its Republican stronghold in The Villages retirement community and has a little over 25,000 Democrats. The Sumter County DEC has spent several years developing a Volunteer Corps with volunteer leaders who have established, maintained, and expanded their database of volunteers. State Committewoman Cris Anderson says, “These leaders are tireless in reaching out, informing, and inviting participation.” The importance of a Voter Protection program was highlighted by visits from FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo and FDP Voter Protection Director Brandon Peters, and volunteers were inspired to attend training sessions and sign up for Poll Watcher shifts. To date, 13 training sessions have been conducted, including one by Lee County Super Volunteer Henry Burden, who has been conducting Voter Protection trainings across the state.

FDP Executive Director Discusses Democratic Issues

WPTV West Palm Beach aired a special edition of “To the Point” on NewsChannel 5 Wednesday evening ahead of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas. The show featured FDP Executive Director Juan Peñalosa explaining the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican positions on issues most important to voters. Watch the full discussion here, and hear how Juan delivers messaging on healthcare and the economy — two of voters top issues — that can be used across the state regardless of who our eventual presidential candidate is.

Democratic National Convention

National Convention Delegate filing forms are available on our website. The application deadline for district-level delegates is noon EST on Saturday, March 7. In 2016, 1,000 Democrats filed to be delegates. We’ve already exceeded that with over 1,300 applications received to date and two weeks left to file!

To ensure our delegation is as diverse as our state, please make sure your members and constituencies know about the National Convention, how to run to be a delegate, and the timeline. Share our Facebook Live briefing with details about becoming a Florida Delegate. Show our slide show presentation at your meetings. Use our #DemConvention Toolkit for social media posts, email drafts, and graphics.

Congressional District (CD) Caucuses will be Saturday, April 4, with some Early Voting locations on Thursday, April 2. The list of caucus locations will be added to the website Monday. Visit for more details.

Vote-by-Mail Facebook Live

FDP Statewide Engagement and Outreach Director Chris Hill and FDP Statewide Press Secretary Alex Morash held a Facebook Live event Thursday to discuss the importance of vote-by-mail and how voters can request and mail in a ballot. Voters who want to have a Presidential Preference Primary ballot mailed to them must request it by 5 p.m. March 7. Voters can visit FL.Dems.Vote for information on requesting a ballot in every county.

FDP Photo Competition

Now through March 31, submit your volunteer and voter engagement photos and help us build our stock photo library. We want to see volunteers with clipboards, knocking doors, on the phones, and having conversations with voters. Submissions will be judged by our Creative Director Ali Kurnaz, and the person with the winning photo submission will win a Google Nest Mini smart speaker. Send your photos to

#VoteFLDems Twitter Townhall

During our Voter Registration Twitter Town Hall on Monday, we saw almost 3,700 tweets about registering to vote. Even actress Debra Messing joined our Twitter takeover! Thank you to everyone who participated. There were several posts from people who said they registered

2020 DCCA Retreat

The 2020 DCCA Retreat is March 27-29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Riverfront. The retreat weekend will include important trainings and information sessions for Party leaders, as well as committee and caucus meetings.

You can book your room online by clicking here or by calling 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention you are attending DCCA Retreat.
We look forward to a terrific annual retreat with DEC Chairs and Party leaders. You can RSVP using this form to suggest training and programming for DCCA Retreat weekend.

For ADA requests, please email

Training Resources

Here are DNC training opportunities available in the next two weeks:

Additional training opportunities are listed here.

Organizing Corps

Deadline coming soon! We are continuing to take part in Organizing Corps 2020 paid training programs, and are working with Organizing Corps 2020, Florida Young Democrats, and Florida College Democrats to recruit and train 200 diverse Florida college students to be the next generation of organizers for the general election.

If you know of good candidates in college, have them apply at www.organizingcorps2020.comYou can also find applications at @orgcorps2020 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The deadline to apply for the 5-week Immersion Training is March 4.

Monthly Call Reminders

  • DCCA Monthly Call – for DEC Chairs and Vice Chairs Hosted by DCCA Chair Dr. Cynthia Chestnut 4th Wednesday each month at 6 p.m. EST (February 26)Contact for call-in number
  • NEW SCM / SCW Call – for DEC State Committeemen and State Committee women Hosted by FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo Last Thursday each month at 5 p.m. EST (February 27)Contact for call-in number
  • Club & Caucus Leaders’ Call – for Presidents/Chairs of state & local clubs and caucuses Hosted by FDP 1st Vice Chair Ms. Judy MountLast Thursday each month at 6 p.m. EST (February 27)Contact for call-in number
  • Social Media Chairs Call – for social media lead volunteers of DECs, clubs & caucuses Hosted by FDP Digital Director Chelsea Daley Monday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. EST Contact for call-in number

Blue Bench Training

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party partnered with us to host a day-long Blue Bench candidate training in Miami Springs last weekend. Special thanks to Miami-Dade DEC Chair Steve Simeonidis and Miami-Dade Campaign Chair Marco Giron for organizing the event and recruiting an engaged audience. Facilitators also included our FDP Deputy Communications Director Luisana Pérez Fernández and FDP Digital Director Chelsea Daley, who spoke to filed and potential candidates about the fundamentals of running a successful campaign. Thank you Miami-Dade for building a Blue Bench in Florida!

Watch for upcoming Blue Bench trainings in Gainesville and Leesburg.

Vote-By-Mail Enrollment Chase

About 150,000 vote-by-mail (VBM) enrollment forms were mailed to Democrats at the beginning of January. We need volunteers to help us contact these Democrats to encourage them to return the enrollment form. A virtual phone bank (VPB) is available at

We know voting by mail is the easiest way to make sure Democrats cast a ballot in this year’s elections. Based on our analysis of those who returned our first mailer, we have fine-tuned our targeting for our February mailer. To help us maximize our return, please jump on the VPB with us to encourage Florida Democrats to return their VBM enrollment forms. This is also an excellent training opportunity for volunteers as we prepare for GOTV ballot chases during the election cycles.

Share Your Story

We want to hear and amplify the stories of Floridians across the state to show why we, as a state and as a nation, need to defeat Trump in 2020. Share your story, with or without a photo or video, and tell us why you fight to #DefeatTrumpFL.

Latest FDP News Digest

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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