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Political analysts: Justice Ginsburg's death may mobilize Florida voters

UNF Political Science Associate Professor Michael Binder says even if just a few more people are motivated to vote, it could have a big impact in Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The election is just weeks away, and though turnout was already expected to be higher because it's a presidential election, some political analysts are now expecting even more voters at the polls.

This is because of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Later this week President Donald Trump is expected to nominate a woman to fill Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat.

"It creates a new campaign to ask people to be civically engaged," said Lanelle Phillmon, the president of the League of Women Voters Jacksonville First Coast.

Whatever your thoughts are in politics, there's no denying Ginsburg broke barriers for women. Now Phillmon says it's up to voters to keep working toward equality for everyone.

"If you look at the body of her work, a lot of people really associate this with women's rights," Phillmon said. "But in fact any time you lift up anyone who is absent of some sort of right, we all benefit from it."

UNF Political Science Associate Professor Michael Binder says Ginsburg's death may motivate some people to vote, but motivating those who aren't already motivated is hard. However, in Florida, Binder says a few more people voting could tip the scale in either direction.

"It could be a few," Binder began. "And if you're looking at, 'okay there's 10 million people that are gonna show up and vote, now there's 10 million and one thousand people.' That doesn't change it, but one thousand people if they're all going in the same direction in a state like Florida, that might impact our results."

Ginsburg's death may mobilize voters because her story may inspire civic engagement or voters may want their candidate to have the say in who fills her seat. There's been a lot of back-and-forth over when her seat should be filled with the election just weeks away.

With Ginsburg's seat vacant, there are three liberal-leaning Supreme Court justices and five who lean conservative. Now in Washington, Republicans are racing to have President Trump fill her seat before Election Day. 

Binder says if that happens, it could impact voter turnout.

"On the right, it might even dampen their enthusiasm because their person's already been nominated and confirmed so they're good," he said. "Conversely, folks on the left might be a little more worked up about what they view as grave hypocrisy on the right because of what happened in 2016 with Merrick Garland."

Garland's nomination by then-President Barack Obama was blocked eight months out from the election.

"The republicans in Congress and in the Senate in particular are really dancing on a fine line here," Binder said. "Do you want to get the Supreme Court nominee across the finish line? Or do you want to maybe dangle it out there in order to potentially lure in a few votes?"

'Get out the vote' activists like Phillmon encourage you to contact your senator to give your thoughts on filling Ginsburg's seat.

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