With turnout the key to victory in Florida, some Democrats have expressed concern about a lack of enthusiasm from Black and Latino voters.Carlos Amado shows Isabel Lui where to drop her ballot in Miami-Dade County, where early voting ends on Sunday. Credit... Marta Lavandier/Associated Press
As the sun set on the C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library in Tampa on Friday evening, a steady stream of mostly Black voters trickled in, hoping to cast their ballots four days before Election Day.
For Democrats, the question of what turnout looks like at early voting sites like this one is a crucial factor in their prospects for winning back Florida, an elusive battleground state. They hope to offset what is expected to be significant Republican turnout on Election Day, and they are counting on strong turnout from Democratic voters of color, as well as from white progressives and white moderates who have rejected the Republican Party in the Trump era.
But at a time when turnout has been especially high in heavily Republican counties, some Democrats have raised concerns about turnout so far among some Black and Latino voters in Florida who tend to support their party.
While there are signs that Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, has cut into the traditional Republican advantage with senior citizens, there is also evidence that he is struggling with some more conservative-leaning Latino constituencies in Florida. Democrats also worry about his standing with Black and Hispanic men in particular.
At the Tampa library early Friday evening, while voters entered and exited at a quick clip and some dropped off ballots, there did not appear to be a line. Some of the voters on hand also did not appear especially enthused about Mr. Biden, though many said they were voting for him.
Antonio Payne, 48, said he would probably vote for him in part because he believed that President Trump was a racist.
Mr. Payne said he was voting for the first time after a ballot measure restored voting rights to people who had been convicted of a felony, like he once was. But he also expressed reservations about Mr. Biden, noting his work on the 1994 Crime Bill, which many experts now associate with mass incarceration.
“I was in that situation, and I’ve seen the effect it took on people and their families,” said Mr. Payne, a mechanic.
He added that he hoped Mr. Biden would “do a better job than Donald Trump.”
Barbara Turner, 48, was not so sure he would.
“To me it’s, who’s going to get the job done?” Ms. Turner, who works in customer service, said. “Sometimes they say the word ‘Democrat’ and it automatically means it’s for the Black people. But that’s not true.”
Would she support Mr. Trump?
“Who knows,” she said, as she walked in to vote.