Jemele Hill has good reason to believe she has tweeted her way onto the political battlefield once again.
The former “SportsCenter” anchor and ESPN columnist wrote Tuesday in The Atlantic that Florida election officials removed her from the state’s voter rolls because she tweeted she had moved to Los Angeles. Hill, who owns a home in Florida and is registered to vote there, flew back to the state from California on Oct. 21 in order to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum in the 2018 midterm elections, as she revealed on social media.
Yet, when Hill arrived at the polling station near her Florida home, she learned her name had been removed from the rolls and was thus given a provisional ballot. She initially received no satisfactory explanation why this happened, but received one an hour later.
“Shortly after I left the polling site, an official from the elections office called me and told me that a tweet (seen above) I had posted a few weeks earlier had been brought to their attention.
“… ‘Let’s just say it was a red brigade,” the Florida elections official told Hill.
Hill believes her high-profile status put her at odds with supporters of Gillum’s opponent, Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump. Hill suspects a DeSantis supporter seized upon her much-viewed tweet and reported her to Florida election officials, who struck her from the rolls. The so-called red brigade and the election officials ignored the fact she, like many other journalists, lives a nomadic lifestyle.
Yet Hill’s roots remain firmly planted in Florida.
“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,” she wrote. “I have never rented my home to another person. I get my bank statements sent there. And I pay Florida property taxes.”
Hill doesn’t know whether Florida ever will count her votes for Gillum, who narrowly lost to DeSantis and conceded the race, or any other of her preferred candidates. But she’s certain her registration has become a casualty of the hyper-polarization and bare-knuckle politics of 2018.
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images