From the Chair’s Desk — Your Weekly Update

17 mins read

Democrats are motivated this year like never before. Last week’s Wisconsin Primary highlighted this and the importance of Vote By Mail (VBM), especially in these uncertain times. Florida Democrats have been at the forefront in advocating for and working to expand VBM, and our record turnout in Florida’s March 17 Primary proved the effectiveness of our efforts. We are going full speed ahead, and are working on national, state, and county levels to expand VBM and update elections in the era of coronavirus. (See below for VBM updates.)

The FDP Communications and Political teams work hard to hold the Trump and DeSantis administrations accountable and organize multiple press calls and events weekly, highlighting Florida’s Democratic elected officials and community leaders, our Party values and solutions for issues our communities face. This past week alone, nine different press calls involving over 40 Democratic leaders focused on issues of the week, including health care and COVID-19, the unemployment insurance debacle, vote by mail, and the impact of gun violence and COVID-19 in communities of color. You’ll see the results of these efforts in the stories and news digest below.

While Donald Trump desperately –and unsuccessfully– attempts to divide the Party, Democrats are enthusiastically rallying behind former Vice President Joe Biden. We have an experienced leader in Joe Biden who has now been endorsed by key Party leaders including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former President Barack Obama, who won the backing of Florida voters twice, in 2012 and 2016. We are proud to go forward with Joe Biden at the top of our ticket, and with his leadership, we are confident we will win Florida in November.

As of Saturday, April 18, there are exactly 199 days — 6 months and 18 days — to November 3, 2020.

Terrie Rizzo
Florida Democratic Party

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

Vote by Mail

Voting by mail is safe, secure, and accessible. It allows more voters to participate in our democracy, and it’s a commonsense way to run an election, especially during a public health crisis. Here are some of the ways we’ve focused on enrolling more Democratic-leaning voters to enroll to vote by mail:

  • We’re engaging voters online through a Twitter Town Hall that out-trended Trump’s press conference and a Virtual Town Hall with state legislators and election experts live-streamed on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube
  • In a partnership with DNC, we sent one million texts, enrolling tens of thousands of voters in the last two weeks
  • We built an online tool to make it easy to request a mail ballot
  • We made 292,479 auto-dialer VBM calls this month, with 4,909 conversations and 3,846 voters patched-through to SOE offices to enroll
  • We’re countering Trump’s lies with facts about vote by mail in the media and online

Be sure to complete and share our Digital Organizing Sign-Up form to help us continue to expand our vote by mail enrollments.

Protecting our Democracy: A Conversation About Voting by Mail

On Wednesday FDP hosted Protecting our Democracy: A Conversation About Voting by Mail Virtual Town Hall to discuss the importance of ways to modernize Florida’s election system and implement vote-by-mail to ensure Floridians can vote safely during the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Chair Terrie Rizzo and FDP Voter Protection Director Brandon Peters were joined by State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, and election experts State Representative and former Duval County Deputy Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Tracie Davis and former Leon County SOE Ion Sancho. The town hall was live-streamed on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Democrats Demand Transparency Regarding Nursing Homes Impacted by Coronavirus

On Thursday FDP held a press call with State Senator Gary Farmer, State Representative Wengay “Newt” Newton and members of the Florida Alliance of Retired Americans (FARA) to discuss Governor Ron DeSantis’ refusal to disclose the names of nursing home facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as his potential decision granting immunity to nursing homes during the pandemic, putting the nursing home industry’s interests over the health and safety of elderly and disabled patients. The story was the banner headline article in Friday’s Palm Beach Post.

Read additional coverage here:

Wellness Checks

Since the State of Emergency was declared in Florida, all of our phone bank scripts start with a wellness check. As of April 15, we have made 154,282 wellness calls, offering resources, phone numbers, and information about food banks, testing sites, and tech support to those who need it. We’re making sure voters know Democrats are here to help.

FDP Is Hiring!

During this time when so many organizations are closing and talented people are out of work, we are fortunate to be able to continue to expand our team. We need your assistance filling several positions. These include:

  • Field Organizers (in 26 counties)
  • Voter Protection Organizer (Tampa, Orlando, or Ft. Lauderdale)

Job descriptions are available here. Please have applicants send their resumes and references to with their name and the position they are applying for in the subject line.

Florida Dems Live

For the past two Saturdays, FDP Training Director Jes Cruz, FDP Field Director Chris Hill, along with FDP Creative Director Ali Kurnaz hosted our Florida Dems Live events, an interactive social event with training, fun and games. Attendees learned about phone banking best practices and were able to connect one-on-one with Democrats throughout Florida, getting to know both FDP staff and other volunteers. This week State Representative Anna V. Eskamani joined us and shared her story of starting as an organizer. Stay tuned for future FL Dems Live events!

Voter Protection Call

On Monday, April 20, 2020 at 4 PM ET, Chair Terrie Rizzo will host a Voter Protection Livestream Call. Please invite your county’s entire voter protection team to attend, along with any Democrats who are considering volunteering for your county’s voter protection team.

The purpose of this call is to thank our many wonderful volunteers for their hard work during Florida’s recent Presidential Preference Primary. Despite the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, many dedicated Democrats went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure every eligible voter could cast a ballot that counted.

To access this call, click this link from your computer at 4 PM ET on April 20. Here are a few tips to improve the quality of your internet connection during Monday’s call:

  1. Directly connect your computer to your modem or router with a patch cable (such as an ethernet cable). 
  2. Close all open browser pages or tabs except for the meeting window. 
  3. Minimize the number of devices connected to the modem or router while the meeting is being conducted (especially streaming services like Netflix). 
  4. Sit closer to your WiFi connection. 

Issue ID Phonebanks

With a focus on digital outreach to voters, it’s more important than ever that our messaging is deployed effectively. In order to better target voters online, we’ve developed Issue ID virtual phonebanks for each county, easily found on our website:


The Issue IDs are needed to help us identify the issues most important to persuadable NPA voters in your county. These phonebanks will allow us to engage our volunteers while face-to-face voter contact is unsafe, and will define county-specific messaging to move persuadable voters in each county. 
We need to make at least 40,000 calls to collect enough data to create content and scripts that will persuade NPA voters to vote for Democrats. We made 17,317 Issue ID calls this month and held 1,728 conversations!
Need help convincing your volunteers that phone banking can be fun? Share our Virtual Phonebank Bingo card!

Training Resources

In addition to our FDP University training opportunities, FDP has the following live webinars for our volunteers, Party leaders, and candidates:

The National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) has several virtual live trainings scheduled to help you increase your online success:

DNC and BPI have launched a webinar series dedicated to building organizational stability during this time of social distancing.

The next webinar is Wednesday, April 22, 4 p.m. ETTBPP: Organizational Stability- Building Your Local Party Infrastructure

The DNC is also hosting NextDoor Meets Digital Organizing on Wednesday, April 22, 5 p.m. ET. Join this discussion about how to start using NextDoor to mobilize folks for the 2020 election.

Zoom hosts free and interactive live training webinars daily to assist you with using their platform for meetings and webinars. Recorded training sessions are also available in multiple languages, including Spanish.
Additional training opportunities are listed here.

Organizing Corps Virtual Bootcamps

Now more than ever, campaigns will need smart, effective, and trained organizers ready to problem-solve, adapt best practices to a physically distanced world, and evolve new ways of connecting with volunteers and voters—to bring new possibilities to life and make campaigns and elections more accessible than ever.

Organizing Corps 2020 is offering Virtual Bootcamps May 11-16 and May 26-31 to ensure our presidential nominee has the smart and effective organizers needed to take back the White House and put competent leaders in seats up and down the ticket. Virtual Bootcamp is a 6-day intensive and interactive training in campaign organizing, designed to get you a paid, full-time organizer job on the 2020 general election. Every Virtual Bootcamp participant will receive a $500 technology and supplies stipend. Additional need-based technology scholarships are also available. Apply for the Virtual Bootcamp by Saturday, April 18.

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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