Republican candidates who favor greater restrictions on immigration won races in Arizona and Florida.
Tag: Haitian voters
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Macollvie Jean-Francois, Sun Sentinel reporter.
Something had to be done with those boys. As their parents voted inside a local church, the boys, about seven of them, ran around the parking lot and in an adjacent lot — impatient.
Wenda Desauguste, 25 and a football coach, stepped up. Within minutes, the boys were on the ground doing push-ups, spinning wheels and other exercises.
Desauguste said she and four other friends came to the church, at North Andrews Avenue and Northeast 13th Street, to vote — some of them for the first time.
“Who are we supporting, guys?” she asked the boys.
“Obama, Obama,” they said, puffing, while they continued with their exercises.
By then, the boys were sweating. The sun had burst through by mid-afternoon, after a temperate morning, and it now beat down on the few voters waiting outside the polling location.
Nelson Garache, 32, and Joseph Beautelus, 48, were also waiting there.
As America votes Tuesday, we will bring you reports from polling places in immigrant and ethnic neighborhoods across the U.S.
Follow Election Day from the perspective of immigrant journalists in battleground states Florida and New Hampshire, as well as Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York.
- We’ll tell you how the election is going for first-time voters.
- We’ll cover efforts to make sure that voting goes smoothly in immigrant neighborhoods and that all the votes are counted.
- We’ll report on the mood among Latino, Chinese, Haitian, Arab and South Asian voters as they cast their ballots in this historic election.
- We’ll bring you photos of voting in immigrant communities across the country.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL., NOV. 2 – By Macollvie Jean-François, Sun Sentinel reporter.
On the day elections officials said would break turnout records, Marie St. Fort stood in line around the corner from a North Miami library, squinting into a harsh afternoon sun. She was about 200th in line, waiting to vote early.
“Oh, I don’t care if it goes into the morning, I’ll stay right here,” St. Fort, 49, said. “I have to vote today. I have so many reasons to vote, I don’t know where to start.”
Like many others who showed up at crunch time, the Haitian-born mother of five said she had to get voting out of the way because she had too many errands to run Sunday —the last day to vote early in Florida— between attending church and other activities. As St. Fort shuffled along over two hours, campaigners came along, making last-ditch attempts to get their way with local amendments and even to give away free candy bars and lollipops. A local Haitian activist stopped by to see if anyone had any problems voting. One woman came bearing a tray of $1 hot dogs individually wrapped in foil.
This story is by Macollvie Jean-François, a Haitian-American news reporter with the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.
On a recent Thursday night at a Haitian restaurant near Fort Lauderdale, Karl Heintz held court at a table where he sat with a half dozen other Haitian men. Over a heap of bronzed chicken and mounds of rice and beans, Heintz, a 36-year-old small-business owner, gave a 15-minute synopsis of the presidential race and the candidates that would rival that of any cable news network political analyst. He went from Barack Obama’s 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention to Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson.
About a week later at the Palm Beach County Civic Center in Delray Beach, about 80 Haitian-Americans assembled for a Haitians for Obama rally. When a few people pulled out checkbooks to donate, Frantz Richard, 54, persuaded them to do it online instead. He keyed in their credit card and other personal information on the laptop right there at the reception area.
Excitement over Obama’s candidacy and disenchantment with the Bush administration have combined to push Heintz, Richard and other Haitians to actively campaign this year. Heintz said he’s not part of any formal groups, but he stays informed, has made nearly $500 in campaign contributions over several months, and he understands how close the election could be. (The 537 votes that cost Gore Florida in 2000 are becoming something close to a mantra, with many people alluding to them in cautionary tones.)
Haitian-American users on Facebook and MySpace, meanwhile, have been circulating information about the candidates for months.
Within this mostly-Democratic voting bloc, most of the campaign events in South Florida are pro-Obama. Most Haitian-Americans support the Democrat unabashedly, citing his inspiring success in America as a black man with a “hyphenated identity.” His migration experience and his exposure to world cultures resonate with them as immigrants.
On the other hand, efforts supporting the Democratic ticket seem belated and less visible than during previous elections, for a variety of reasons— the online outreach option being one. Four years ago, you couldn’t drive two blocks in the traditional Haitian enclaves without seeing a storefront window plastered with red-white-blue campaign posters. However, quite a few Haitians for Obama groups have emerged since Hillary Clinton’s concession and the DNC. They’re now hosting fundraising events, handing our car stickers, and sporting t-shirts bearing Obama’s face with his “Yes, We Can” slogan in Creole: “Wi, Nou Kapab.”