Throughout this election we’ve heard cries of “the election is rigged,” “one vote doesn’t matter,” and “why even go through the trouble of voting.” Many people eligible to vote are sympathetic to those arguments and don’t buy the “sentimental” democratic idea that “every votes counts.”
However, if you are a University of Miami student reading this column: none of those arguments for apathy apply to you. Your vote matters, maybe more than any other vote in the country. Here’s why:
We all know that Florida plays a particularly important role in the election as a swing state. But it’s not just a swing state, it is the swing state with by far the largest number of electoral votes. Nate Silver’s poll-aggregation site FiveThirtyEight released final election forecasts this morning, giving Clinton a 55.1 percent chance of victory in Florida, Trump 44.9 percent. This is the tightest margin of any state in the country. What that means right now is that Florida is the biggest prize still up for grabs, and just a handful votes here could determine the outcome.
Miami-Dade is the most populous county in Florida, and it is primarily Democratic. However, in 2012, President Obama won the state of Florida with just 50 percent of the popular vote. In Miami-Dade, Obama garnered 61.6 percent of the county vote, which is solidly Democratic, but Obama’s share of the vote here ranked below his share in Gadsden, Broward and Osceola counties.
Even though Miami-Dade will be solidly blue, your vote still matters if you’re a Democrat because a slight increase in the margin of victory here could be difference between 49.9 and 50 percent statewide. The same goes for Republican voters. Although they may feel like an unheard minority, if they can just slightly lower the margin of Democratic victory in Miami-Dade, that could change the outcome of the statewide election.
The millennial vote is important. Our generation is now the largest of any age group. For most UM students, this is the first presidential election in which we have been eligible to vote. We are a wildcard. Our voter history is unknown and our views often greatly diverge from the partisan norms established by baby boomers. This is the premier university in the most important county in the most important state in this election. We may not have an activist campus culture, but the voting bloc of students here will play an unpredictable, but critical role in who becomes the next president.
Your vote truly could be the difference in this election. You have about three hours left, go vote.
Annie Cappetta is a junior majoring in ecosystem science and policy and political science.