Why South Miami Elections Should Be Moved to November

Grant Miller

There is a topic lurking just below the surface this Election Day, one that policy wonks will debate furiously, but that most people are oblivious to. I’m talking about when city elections are held in South Miami.

There is a proposal on the South Miami ballot this November 3rd to change the City’s Charter and move Election Day from February to November. Not surprisingly, two City officials, one current and one former, former Mayor Phil Stoddard and Vice Mayor Bob Welsh aka “Bicycle Bob” have come out against it. Keeping the election in February will continue to suppress voter turnout.

Before we get into it, here’s a breakdown of South Miami’s precincts and voters. The City is divided into 8 precincts and as of September 2020 had 8,112 registered voters. Demographically, the City has 2,800 Non-Hispanic/White voters,1,203 Black voters, and 3,377 Hispanic voters.

Voter registration at the time of the February 2020 election was lower at 7,838. The voters in that election only cast a total of 2,175 votes for a turnout rate of just 27.75 percent. In 2018, there were 7,585 registered voters and 2,176 cast ballots, meaning the turnout rate was a little higher at 28.69 percent.

By contrast, 70 percent of registered voters in South Miami turned out in the November 2018 midterm election and 77 percent of South Miami voters turned out during the last Presidential election in 2016. Turnout for Black and Hispanic voters is higher in the Fall than in the Winter.

South Miami voters turn out at a higher rate in November than they do in February. So why have Stoddard and Welsh come out against greater voter participation? For Stoddard, he says it’s because “all the campaign helpers are working for the big campaigns.” Welsh warns that candidates running in November will have to “sell their souls” to contributors, while candidates who run in February get to keep their souls firmly attached.

Both Stoddard and Welsh are full of nonsense. Stoddard and Welsh are the beneficiaries of a system that has lower voter turnout. It is likely that they would have faced defeat had their last elections been held in the fall. And the present Mayor, Sally Philips would probably have lost to either Horace Feliu or Lina Sierra when a much larger number of minority voters came out to the polls.

The real reason is that Stoddard, who looks like he’s angling to run again in 2022, and Welsh want to keep things the way they are in terms of the election date is that it will keep things the way they are in terms of politics it the City — stagnant. And stagnant is how they like it. And it sounds like it is the very reason they want to keep the election in February and suppress voting.

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  1. Excellent article, you hit the nail on the head. What hypocrisy the former mayor spouts, his PAC poured their money into the election of his puppet who doesn’t appear to have a clue as to being a mayor. keeping the voter turnout low works for their system. Going to the polls in November will increase the voter turnout for local elections. South Miami voters will not be “tapped out” if they chose to give a campaign donation of the max of $250 or whatever they decide.
    The last local election showed what lengths the former mayor would go to restrict a free and open process. Let’s take that out of their hands and let the County run the election in November. God bless America

  2. You are absolutely right about Stoddard and Welsh. Stoddard runs South Miami using his PAC to funnel anonymous contributions and decide who wins and who loses. He uses the Prince of Darkness (Satan) Randal Hilliard to cover his dirty tracks. If you research the PAC, Stoddard was using a fake address in the industrial area for many years and now has moved the address to the UPS store. The 2020 election should be audited. Was that a fair and fraud-free election? A lot of people don’t think so. Did they use Ballot Harvesting? Did they hire people to harvest ballots from senior homes? The South Miami election needs to be moved to NOVEMBER, so We the People can decide our elected officials, not Stoddard, Hilliard, and Welsh.

    Grant, I don’t like that people throw around the term “voter suppression.” Voters need to be responsible for knowing when elections are held. How does one not know that there’s an election going on when you see hundreds of yard signs? So, I wouldn’t call that voter suppression. I also don’t believe that requiring a voter to be a citizen and have valid id is voter suppression. Stop with the lies about voter suppression. Can you get a library card without id? Can you register your child in public school without id? Can you receive medical treatment without an id? Can you buy a beer without id? Can you drive without id? Can you get public assistance without id? Can you enter a government building without id? Stop with the lies about voter suppression. As a woman, my right to vote had to be won! We need to protect that right and responsibility!


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