Jemele Hill Says Florida Officials Told Her She Couldn't Vote Because Of A Tweet
The writer says she was told "a red brigade" helped to kick her off of registration rolls.
Former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill claimed Florida voting officials removed her name from state registration rolls because of a tweet supporting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
Gonna be completely transparent here: So I just moved to LA this week, but yet I’m flying to Florida tonight because that’s where I’ve voted since 2005. I came for early voting because of this pic.twitter.com/XQDFvX38Qc— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 22, 2018'
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Hill, who now writes for The Atlantic, detailed her ordeal in a piece published on the site Tuesday. In it, the journalist said a tweet supporting Gillum made her a target for voter suppression.
Hill said she worried something might go wrong when she tried to vote, and when she arrived, her fears came to pass.
"When I showed up at the polling site near my house, I found that I had been kicked off the registered-voter roll," Hill wrote. "A flurry of phone calls, and lots of head-nodding and 'mmm-hmms' from the supervisor of the polling site, failed to produce an explanation of why the system wasn’t showing me as a registered voter."
Hill was given a provisional ballot to use, and after voting, she began to investigate what had happened.
“Shortly after I left the polling site, an official from the elections office called me and told me that a tweet I had posted a few weeks earlier had been brought to their attention," she wrote.
Because the tweet states Hill moved to L.A., officials assumed she'd left the state. However, Hill says that isn't true as she's living on the West Coast now temporarily.
"I’ve lived in three different cities this year alone," Hill wrote. "I’ve lived in six different cities over the course of my 21-year career in journalism. Part of the reason I bought a house in Orlando in 2006 was to establish a base of permanent residency — to have a place to call home, wherever I might temporarily reside. I have never rented my home to another person. I get my bank statements sent there. And I pay Florida property taxes."
When she asked who brought the tweet to the secretary of state's attention, the journalist said she was told, "'Let’s just say it was a red brigade.'"
Hill wonders if her much-publicized criticism of Donald Trump put her on a right-wing hit list. "I’m not accusing Donald Trump of trying to suppress my vote, but I wouldn’t put it past his ardent supporters," she wrote.
An elections expert at the University of California told Hill she might be on to something with that line of thought.
“The fact is, you’re a high-profile person who has political enemies,” professor Richard Hasen told Hill. “The president has influenced passions about voter fraud, so people in the public eye will be watched very carefully. Everybody is looking for a ‘gotcha’ to see if a prominent person across the aisle is committing voter fraud.”
Although she was given a tracking number for her ballot, the writer says she's still not 100 percent sure her vote was counted and lamented that voting challenges still happen.
"In another election year, this incident would just be a funny story for me to repeat at parties — but this was the most serious election of my lifetime," Hill wrote. "I wanted to vote."
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