More Americans would go to the polls if somebody would just entertain them when they get there. Sad, but apparently true. There's research to prove it. Throw a parade, a picnic, a barbecue, a block party in enough cities and Florida polling places could lure 4 percent of the otherwise lazy and disengaged.
The Democrats are all over it.
In about two weeks, depending where you live, you'll see the launch of #VoteTogether “Party at the Polls.” Actually, it's a flock of stoutly financed organizations flinging a hail-Mary pass for the 2018 midterms.
Nextdoor (nextdoor.com), "the free and private social network for neighborhoods," has partnered with #VoteTogether, an initiative of Civic Nation, said Michael Paluszek of the New York City PR firm Dan Klores Associates, in a telephone interview. All aimed at increasing voter participation in this particular election by making voting "fun and inclusive," he stressed.
"These events will bring together families, friends and neighbors and students to create enthusiasm and get everyone excited about voting."
Hold on, though. Before you shout, "Bring on the food trucks!" you might want to hear the rest of the story.
At least three times in our conversation, Paluszek called #VoteTogether “Party at the Polls" a "nonpartisan" effort.
The giveaway is Paluszek's rundown of the parties scheduled so far -- more than 700 nationwide. As of this morning, 40 of the events are ready to go in Miami, two in St. Petersburg and four in Tampa -- blue strongholds every one, where Democratic "boots on the ground" is still a march in progress. I asked him how many are set in cities like Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Pensacola? He could not or would not say but claims 250 such poll parties in all are set for Florida during early voting through election day. UPDATE: At 12:57 p.m. Monday Paluszek reported that as of today, 10 events have been scheduled in Pensacola, six in Jacksonville and nine in Daytona Beach. "The numbers change daily," he said.
"These are nonpartisan civic engagement events," the comms specialist repeated. "Everyone is invited."
Oh, sure they are. If 80 percent of "everyone" in a poll-party community is a Democrat, "nonpartisan" means diddly ... Welcome, Republicans!
Who's paying for these events? Do you really believe it's "volunteers"?
And who's paying the bill for slick PRsters Dan Klores Associates?
I don't doubt the truth of the work Donald Green, a Berkeley-educated professor of political science at Columbia University conducted. He shows community festivities staged near the polls during voting days can increase voter turnout by 4 percent. Seems like a sound number to me.
Luring registered voters with entertainment? I have no problem with that. But the dishonesty of how this partisan news has been cast is breathtaking. These are very liberal groups financed primarily out-of-state, staging single-party vote-hustling almost exclusively in Florida's Democrat-rich communities -- pretending to be without partisan motive.
Poll parties are apparently scarce in Florida's red districts.
The Democrats would have you believe they're the Party of Integrity. What do you think? And here all they had to do was fess up.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith