Maya Brown: The Purge — Florida’s threat to democracy, communities of color
A woman attends an event for Democratic candidate for Florida governor Charlie Crist at an early voting location Nov. 6, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

It is time to reclaim the promise of democracy.

Life comes at you fast. It’s less than four months until Primary Election Day, and as the 2024 Elections loom large on the horizon like a Florida summer shower, the Sunshine State finds itself embroiled in a contentious battle over voting rights — again.

Like Groundhog’s Day, but instead of worrying about packing up the peacoats or pulling out the crop tops, it’s glaring red flags about democracy on the line.

The attack on voting rights, from Florida’s Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion and the 7-person Supreme Court isn’t new. Recent changes in state law have led to a surge in inactive registered voters and a disproportionate purge of names from vote-by-mail rolls, with communities of color bearing the brunt of the impact.

From group chats to bar conversations, the alarms about shifting voter registration statistics are valid.

However, it’s like the title of one of America’s poignant civil rights leaders’ last books, “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community.” It’s not just about who wins elections; this alarming trend threatens the very foundation of democracy and needs our attention — like six months ago.

“As goes Florida, so does the nation,” we’ve screamed cycle after cycle.

My home state has long been a battleground, but recent partisan legislative maneuvers have shifted races won and lost by less than one percentage point to a swing of a 20-point difference. Amendments to voting laws have introduced stringent criteria for maintaining active voter status — resulting in a staggering increase in the number of inactive registered voters.

Florida’s new laws, purportedly aimed at maintaining the integrity of the electoral system, have resulted in an unprecedented number of voters being labeled as inactive. Many of these individuals, predominantly from minority communities, already face barriers to participation in traditional voting methods.

Now, the intersections of transience and conflicting work schedules when polls are open make mail-in ballots a primary avenue for casting a ballot, but legislators just made it another hurdling task to remember to update your registration if you move and register to vote by mail every election.

Our civic duty to participate in our elections should be as convenient as it is to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. This isn’t a partisan issue — everyone should be concerned about the residual impacts of these blatant voter suppression tactics on registration and turnout.

In this climate of uncertainty, misinformation and voter apathy, we must take decisive action to make voter access easier. The key to winning this cycle? Reengage those affected by these discriminatory measures and who likely don’t even know it.

Getting an inactive voter to be active is a good 2-for-1 deal.

Voting by mail emerges as a crucial avenue for participation, offering convenience and accessibility to voters who may not know their registration is inactive, offering a trickle-down effect to regrow our vote-by-mail registration numbers.

Out of 14.7 million registered voters in Florida, 2 million are registered inactive; with 34% Democrats and 26% registered inactive Republican voters. Out of those 2 million inactive voters, 34% are voters of color.

May not seem like much in the millions, but in priority counties and tight races, we know less than 100 votes can make a difference. Now, let’s do some quick math — 60,000 Democrats and 71,000 NPAs are registered inactive in comparison to 36,000 Republicans in Hillsborough. 58,000 Democrats and 54,000 NPAs are registered inactive in comparison to 28,000 Republicans in Miami-Dade. 62,000 Democrats and 74,000 NPAs are registered inactive in comparison to 42,000 Republicans in Palm Beach County.

The ballot initiative to protect reproductive choice is rumored to be the biggest turnout asset this cycle. With 49% of all inactive voters being women, it’s anybody’s game. I guarantee you that registering a new woman voter is going to take more cash and time with less ROI without relational organizing than getting those 49% back on the rolls.

To counteract the disenfranchisement of marginalized communities, we must mobilize a concerted effort to encourage voting by mail. Organizations in the center-left ecosystem, faith leaders, and elected officials at every level of government should be shouting this information from rooftops. These grasstops leaders play a pivotal role in this endeavor, leveraging their expertise and previous history of engagement to reach out to disenfranchised communities, providing education, resources, and support to ensure that every voice is heard to avoid another red wave in 2024.

However, our collective efforts cannot stop there. We must advocate for comprehensive legislative reforms that dismantle discriminatory barriers to voting and uphold the fundamental principles of democracy. This includes challenging laws that disproportionately impact communities of color and advocating for policies that promote equitable access to the ballot box; but that’s another battle for another day.

So, when does “Flip Florida Blue” and “Make America Great Again” go from T-shirt slogans to quantifiable electoral strategy to register voters of color in off-cycles, bring their coalitions in to party leadership outside of affinity causes, and begin turnout before GOTV weekend?

In the face of adversity, we must reaffirm our commitment to democracy and justice. Nov. 6 isn’t just Election Day; matter of fact, let’s just call it Electoral Groundhog’s Day. Where we go from here is a choice that each party has to make with intentional effort to reengage disenfranchised voters.

It is time to reclaim the promise of democracy. It is time to ensure that no voter is left behind.


Maya Brown is a highly regarded educator, political consultant and lobbyist, known for her exceptional expertise across the Southeastern US. With years of experience in strategic facilitation, campaign management and government relations, Maya has successfully guided numerous political campaigns and initiatives to success. She has a deep understanding of the political landscape and a proven track record of delivering results for her clients. Learn more at and @MsMayaBrown.

Guest Author


  • Dani Biden

    April 14, 2024 at 10:20 pm

    If your too stupid or poor to read, write or get a library card, why vote. You do not contribute anything unless you pay taxes such as the rest of the working class. You want equity? Then jump into to working society.

  • rick whitaker

    April 15, 2024 at 4:44 am

    DANI, let’s hope that someone doesn’t think you are too poor or stupid to vote. if they did, they could be a facist like trump and not let you vote. you don’t have to be a property owner or a christian to vote anymore, they changed those laws before you were born. sounds like you are a maga cultist, so i can see you feeling the way you do. good luck with all that maga hate.

  • Priscilla Bell

    April 15, 2024 at 10:26 am

    Forefathers of this country set up a great voting system that works for everyone. And it took hundreds of years to get it right. Then here comes the congressmen who wants to change what already works for the people. Yet these same politicians always pay gratitude to the ones who wrote the United States Constitution, but don’t follow.

    • rick whitaker

      April 15, 2024 at 10:38 am

      PB, yeah, the gop is quite outrageous and obvious.

  • Donna

    April 16, 2024 at 1:28 am

    What an absolutely ridiculous article. I have been a precinct chair in another state but have lived in Florida for 15 years and I can tell you it is the best and most secure election state. There are many early voting days and anyone who wants to vote by absentee ballot can. They are very good at making sure the ballots are from the person applying for them. Florida has a total by the end of the night of election day. Florida is the model every state should follow. The problem for some is that they can’t figure out how to cheat. Voter rolls are SUPPOSED to be updated before each election. Again, this article is a lie. Anyone eligible to vote easily can.

  • Marco

    April 16, 2024 at 8:42 am

    When everything is labeled as racist, articles such as this are meaningless. No citizen is denied their right to vote. I only read diatribe like this for the laugh.

    • rick whitaker

      April 16, 2024 at 10:28 am

      MARCO, when racist’ get a hold of an election or anything to do with the whole process of voting, they start plotting on how to cheat in a racist way. you can call this fact a lie, but then that would make you a racist. so MARCO, your post sounds like you are a racist. marco, do you deny this? most racist’ will not admit it publicly for fear of reprisals.

Comments are closed.


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