News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Oct. 28, 2020: Caribbean-Americans voters are among the over 70 million Americans who have already cast their ballot for the Nov. 3, 2020 US general elections, with some enduring long lines to do so, News Americas has learnt.
Many took to social media to share their early voting stickers and messages, some after standing in land for hours to cast their votes. In Queens, NY, Guyanese-born naturalized voter, Simone Dutchin-Burnett, said she stood in line at her polling place at Queens College for three-and-a-half-hours to vote.
Jamaican-born broadcaster, Francine Chin, also shared a similar tale on her Facebook page, saying she had a headache after standing in a very long line, also in New York, to vote. But another Caribbean American New Yorker and broadcaster, Sheron Bunafyah Hamilton-Pearson, said she voted in about 10 minutes tops.
The same was true for some Caribbean-born voters in South Florida. Aruba-born Maurella van der Ree, said she voted in Weston at the Weston Public Library in about 10 minutes while Trinidad and Tobago-born Miami voter, Daniel Smith said he voted in about 10 minutes as well in Miami.
“No waiting, no lines …longest part was actually filing out the ballot…less than 10 mins in and out,” he said.
Voting in Lehigh Acres, Florida, Guyanese-American, Lorna Tong Antoine, also said it took about 15 minutes to perform her civic duty.
Americans have already cast half the total votes counted in 2016, as voters show intense enthusiasm and take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic.
With now 7 days left to go until Election Day, 69.5 million early votes have been cast as of Tuesday afternoon, 50.4% of the total turnout from 2016, according to the U.S. Elections Project, which tracks early voting. That includes 46.3 million votes cast by mail-in ballots and 23.1 million in-person votes. There were 47.2 million early votes cast in all in 2016.
The Caribbean-American voting bloc, often dismissed, has now been recognized as the key to helping Democrats win in Florida and win the White House.
Florida has more than 974,000 people of West Indian ancestry. That total includes more than 300,000 Jamaicans and more than 530,000 Haitians, according to census figures. A conservative estimate for the number of Jamaican voters in Florida stands at 91,000, because many may not report Jamaica as their country of origin. Haitian voters are estimated at about 115,000. Across the state, nearly four of every ten immigrant was born in the Caribbean and call areas like Broward County, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Port Saint Lucie, West Palm Beach, Deerfield Beach, Miami Beach, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Boca Raton and Sarasota, home.
As the countdown begins to the November 3, 2020 general elections, a News Americas’ analysis of latest Department of Homeland Security data shows that over 1 million Caribbean immigrants became naturalized US citizens over a ten-year period – 2008-2018. The majority of those naturalized are from The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti.