A group founded by former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum claimed to have added 100,000 new people to Florida voter rolls, but state records showed only a fraction of that number, according to a Politico report Saturday.
“Andrew Gillum has a math problem,” wrote Politico’s Gary Fineout before contrasting the 100,000 new voters claimed by Gillum’s voter registration group Forward Florida Action with the number obtained by the Florida Division of Elections, in a piece titled “Gillum lays claim to 100K new Florida voters, but numbers don’t add up.”
“Outside groups like Gillum’s added fewer than 27,000 voters to the rolls between January and the end of September, according to state data,” Fineout reported. “And the overwhelming majority of the roughly half-million voters who have registered in the state this year did so at their local motor vehicle office.”
The former Florida gubernatorial candidate, who lost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by less than half a percentage point in 2018, has pledged to do work to “flip Florida blue” in 2020 and launched Forward Florida Action in April as a way to accomplish that goal.
“Florida is a highly competitive state, and I’ve committed that my job between now and November 2020 is doing everything that we can to flip Florida blue in the presidential race and in all the races below,” Gillum told Yahoo News on Tuesday. (RELATED: Chris Cuomo To Florida’s Andrew Gillum On Health-Care Plan: ‘You Don’t Know Exactly How To Pay For It Yet’)
Trump won the state, which had been won by former President Barack Obama twice, by a razor-thin margin of 112,911 votes in 2016.
Gillum and Forward Florida Action spokesperson Joshua Karp told Politico that the discrepancy between their numbers and those of the Florida Division of Elections lies with the fact that the group also claims voters who merely update their address as a “new” voter.
“The rationale is that failures to update address changes could lead to votes not getting counted,” wrote Fineout.
Gillum calls it a “difference without a distinction,” telling Politico that the effort isn’t “just about adding numbers to the rolls,” but also “about getting these folks situation so when we target them on the turnout side that we are basically producing a voter.”
Further, Forward Florida Action uses voter applications rather than actual voter registrations to reach its total.
“There is very little accountability for many of the groups doing voter registration drives,” University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith told Politico. “There is a lot of credit-claiming and very little accountability.”
“A new voter is someone who has not been registered before,” he added.