Com­plaint over tweet al­most de­railed vote

Tampa Bay Times - - From The Front Page - Zachary T. Samp­son, Times staff

When she reg­is­tered to vote in Florida, Jemele Hill chose to af­fil­i­ate with the Repub­li­can Party. The de­ci­sion, she said, was prag­matic. “I just have no­ticed in other voter sup­pres­sion sit­u­a­tions or states where this is a real is­sue, black Demo­cratic vot­ers are of­ten tar­geted,” she said. More than a decade later, a tweet helped im­peril Hill’s 2018 vote in Orange County. Hill is some­what of a light­ning rod for hard­line con­ser­va­tives since call­ing Pres­i­dent Donald Trump a white su­prem­a­cist on Twit­ter. On Oct. 21, she posted that she had re­cently moved to Los An­ge­les but was fly­ing back to Florida to cast a vote for Demo­cratic can­di­date for gov­er­nor Andrew Gil­lum. Some­one, ap­par­ently, com­plained to the state that she was try­ing to vote here but no longer lived in Florida. When Hill showed up to vote in Or­lando, she said, there was a prob­lem with her reg­is­tra­tion. She ended up hav­ing to cast a pro­vi­sional bal­lot, one of hun­dreds filed in the county, and later wrote an essay for The Atlantic ti­tled, plainly: I Still Don’t Know If My Vote Will Be Counted in Florida. Orange County Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Bill Cowles con­firmed Hill’s story and said that her bal­lot was ac­cepted by the lo­cal can­vass­ing board last Fri­day. Her vote, he said, counted. Hill wrote that she has never rented her Florida home to any­body, that she pays prop­erty taxes and has her bank state­ments sent there. As a jour­nal­ist, she said, she bounces be­tween cities, but Florida is her base. “They had all the facts, but they al­lowed some­body with an agenda to es­sen­tially put my vote in jeop­ardy in a very close race,” she later told the Tampa Bay Times. “If I didn’t speak sup­port for Andrew Gil­lum, and if I didn’t have that runin with Donald Trump, I don’t think this hap­pens at all.”

Jemele Hill

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