Contrary to media interpretations, Democrats underperformed woefully nationally, and in Flagler County they were again all but wiped out. To survive locally they have two choices: either run their candidates as Republicans (and support other moderate Republicans), or keep dying at the polls.
For Flagler County and Palm Coast, it is an election of new faces: four races, four newcomers to elected office: Leann Pennington won a seat on the County Commission, Theresa Pontieri and Cathy Heighter won seats to the Palm Coast City Council, and Will Furry won a Flagler County School Board seat.
Polls opened today for the final day of the 2022 election, with nearly 42,000 votes already cast by mail or in early voting in Flagler County. Only a handful of local races are on the ballot.
The focus on the machinery of elections has obscured a different threat to the nation’s elections: Local election administrators work under increasingly difficult circumstances, with dwindling resources and mounting challenges.
Drop boxes have become a symbol of the attacks on voter access even though there’s been no cases of fraud, vandalism or theft involving drop boxes that could have affected election outcomes. Up to one-fourth of Florida drop-boxes had to be eliminated due to a new law restricting their use and locations.
Even if November 2022 could see more Americans registering their midcycle political preferences than in recent years, a large chunk of eligible voters – perhaps around half – will not bother. Each of the usual arguments against voting is flawed.
The perception is that Democrats appear to be sitting on their hands. They’re not: they’re outvoting Republicans, but only in proportion to their registration numbers, not in ballots cast. Since there are so many more registered Republicans than there are Democrats in the county, Democrats’ slight enthusiasm edge has not been nearly enough to compensate for the huge gap in actual ballots cast by Republicans.
The challenges have come amid supervisors’ years-long battle to convince voters that, contra Trump lies, election processes aren’t rigged, an issue that took root and spread as Trump and maga supporters continue to maintain that Joe Biden’s 2020 victory was fraudulent.
The law, passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, made it a crime to continue a longstanding practice of paying petition gatherers based on the number of signatures they collect. Experts have said the changes doubled the cost of getting initiatives on the ballot.
Uncivil messages by politicians have become more and more common in the last decade. Political attacks are now a regular occurrence in an increasingly polarized political environment, encouraging voters to get mad and plan to vote ahead of Election Day in November. But that doesn’t mean these kinds of advertisements and personal attacks actually work.