2018 elections

With one day left before Election Day, more than 5 million voters have already cast ballots in the battleground state of Florida, and records show Democrats have the edge.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Activist Emma González, who became famous after giving an impassioned speech in Fort Lauderdale days after the shooting at her Parkland high school in February, stood on the steps of Florida's old state Capitol building on Monday and urged people to vote.

"Gun violence is on the ballot," González said. "Our lives are in the hands of the people that we elect. Vote in every election like it's your last, because it very well could be."

There's a lot that can happen Tuesday, the culmination of a long midterm election campaign that will provide the first nationwide measure of the U.S. electorate since Donald Trump was elected president.

Jobs, paychecks and taxes -- the usual issues for an election -- have given way to heated rhetoric, discord and divisiveness. How are the issues and the political environment impacting voters and their votes?

Sam Turken / WLRN

Although more people in Palm Beach County cast ballots this year during early voting than previous midterm elections, turnout at a new voting site at Florida Atlantic University appeared to fall short of expectations.

Palm Beach saw nearly 175,000 people pass through 14 polling places during two weeks of early voting. The FAU site, however, recorded ballots from just 4,410 voters, the second fewest among early voting locations in the county.

Amy Green / WMFE

Across Florida blooms of toxic algae are threatening beaches and waterways.

Now the algae stands to influence the state’s top political races.

In Cocoa Beach the afternoon is mild, the sky is bright and the surf is breaking. But Tony Sasso can’t stop coughing.

Douglas Hanks / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade briefly ran out of ballots Sunday for some voters at its North Miami location, as malfunctioning printers upended logistics there during the final day of early voting and had people reporting wait times topping three hours.

Jennifer Lett / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Voters from Parkland to Hollywood waited in long lines that wrapped around buildings on Sunday, the last day of early voting for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“The voting is breaking all records in Broward County,” said Fred Bellis, a spokesman for the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office. “The numbers are higher than we’ve ever seen.”

Under normal circumstances, America's midterm elections tend to elicit shrugs outside the U.S. The world usually focuses on U.S. elections when the president's name is on the ballot. But if you're an American overseas these days, you may be quizzed on what will happen in Tuesday's midterms.

Leslie Vinjamuri, an American political scientist who has lived in London for more than a dozen years, says in the run-up to this year's midterms, she has been getting questions every day.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Andrew Gillum couldn’t move.

The Democratic mayor of Tallahassee hoping to be Florida’s next governor stepped off his bus in Miami into a throng of 300 sweaty revelers ready for a “souls to the polls” march on the final day of early voting in South Florida.

But first, Gillum had to make way for a procession of motorcycles and the inevitable selfie requests.

On Nov. 6, I'll join almost a million other Americans who have volunteered — for a minimal fee — to help man the polls.

It's an extraordinary thing when you think about it. This army bands together for a single day (or several, if you include early voting) to make sure every American can exercise one of their most fundamental rights. For all the talk of "rigged" elections, cyberthreats, voter suppression and fraud, it's often those on the front lines who most affect your voting experience. And that responsibility has only become more complicated.

In one respect, this is a typical midterm election — a race shaped as a referendum on the president and the party in power.

But there are so many ways in which this election is anything but typical. We've seen a surge in first-time candidates, especially women and minorities. In the past several midterms, the party in power was relatively complacent compared with the party hoping to be in power. Heading into Election Day, Democrats have an enthusiasm edge, but Republicans have been getting steadily amped up, too.

From the beginning of his campaign, Ron DeSantis, a lawyer and former congressman, tied his electoral chances to Trump, using frequent appearances on the Fox News network to defend the president and his policies.
Butch Dill / Associated Press

It has all led to this.
 

Three days before Election Day, Ron DeSantis joined the man who has played a larger role than any other person or issue in skyrocketing his career from Freedom Caucus congressman to the candidate Republicans nominated to lead the state of Florida.

The two men on stage Saturday night took wildly different paths to arrive at this moment — one a businessman-reality star and the other an Ivy League military man — but in their rally speeches to a crowd of around 5,000 people, they made it clear their political fates were intertwined.

Miami Herald

With only three days before Election Day, former president Barack Obama stumped for Florida Democrats in Miami on Friday with a message that voting blue could help create unity across the state.

MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Candidates are revving up their campaigning in the final days before Nov. 6.

 

The momentum can be felt in South Florida and across the country. More than 800,000 people have already voted across the region – surpassing those who voted early or by mail four years ago.

WLRN asked listeners about their motivations for going to vote.

Lisa Silvers of Parkland says she’s worried about the country’s direction.

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