Errol Thompson, a Baptist pastor in Orlando's black community, acknowledges that the excitement over Barack Obama becoming the first black U.S. president has cooled.So the Republicans in Florida thought they pulled a fast one on African American churches by eliminating early voting the Sunday right before the election - they day "Souls to the Polls" is typically organized. Did they really think that would stop them?
But with the Democratic president locked in a tight race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Thompson still expects voter turnout in Florida for the November 6 election to be equal to or greater than it was four years ago.
To make sure of that, he and other black church leaders across Florida are organizing a mass effort, dubbed "Souls to the Polls," to get thousands of people in their flock to vote early - right after Sunday's morning service.
This weekend's voting drive carries special importance as it is the only Sunday included in the state's truncated early voting period - which begins on Saturday - after it was cut this year from 14 to eight days.
Legislators eliminated voting on the last Sunday before the election, the day black churches traditionally mobilized in a final push to get voters to the polls.
The reduction in early voting days in Florida was among several changes to election laws in this state and more than 20 others that Democratic activists contend were designed by Republican-led legislatures to suppress voting by low-income and minority residents who tend to vote for Democrats.
That - along with the opportunity to re-elect Obama, who many in the black community feel would not have been so stonewalled by Republicans in Congress if he were white - is what Thompson is counting on in his push for early voting.
Thompson said the concerns over voting issues arise as many in his community are still seething over the state government's perceived slow response in February to the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in central Florida.
"It's all these kind of things that are quietly pushing people to the polls. It might not have the same exuberance, but it is a quiet determination," he said.
Let me add a word to these racist's vocabulary...B-A-C-K-L-A-S-H...one of quiet determination. And its happening as we speak!
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