Florida just set a new record with 5 million registered Democratic voters

For the first time in Florida's history, a political party in the state has more than 5 million registered voters.

As of Jan. 31, Democrats had 5.04 million registered voters in the state, compared to 4.79 million registered Republicans, according to Florida's Department of State. An additional 3.78 million voters are registered with minor parties or have no party affiliation.

Democrats gained approximately 53,000 new registered voters in the last year, while Republicans gained 33,000 voters.

At a Tuesday press conference, the Florida Democratic Party announced the milestone achievement, alongside representatives from Forward Florida Action, Alianza for Progress, and the New Florida Majority.

Florida "must expand the electorate to make sure that all people — especially young people and people of color and women — have a voice and a vote," Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority, said at the press conference. Mercado also criticized Republicans for voter suppression tactics in the state.

Florida saw a competitive gubernatorial and Senate race in 2018, with Republicans narrowly defeating Democrats for both seats. Gov. Ron DeSantis won by 0.4% of the vote, while Sen. Rick Scott won by 0.2%.

Since that election, Florida Republicans have lost two lawsuits centered on voter suppression.

In November 2019, Democratic groups won a lawsuit against Republican efforts to rig the ballot by listing GOP candidates first. The tactic gave GOP candidates up to a 5% advantage on Election Day, but will not be allowed moving forward.

Last Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down a GOP-backed effort to force former felons to pay all outstanding court costs before being allowed to register to vote. Republicans passed the law after 64% of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing most felons to regain their right to vote when their sentence is over.

Florida will likely be a key battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. President Barack Obama won the state in both 2008 and 2012, and Donald Trump carried the state in 2016.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.