Elections: a time for apathy & excuses

As I rushed to class on Tuesday morning, a plethora of signs touting the unfamiliar names of candidates pervaded my neighborhood streets.

A small group of over-excited baby boomers stood amidst the morning rush hour traffic waving posters and chanting “No on 14!” One person honked and waved while another chucked the finger.

I knew it was time, once again, for another election full of hypocritical politicians and obscure ballot questions.

Consumed by a flash of patriotic responsibility, I thought about making a pit stop at my local polling place but decided it wasn’t worth risking my chance for a parking space at school.

And with that went the almighty freedom my predecessors fought for so fervently, a freedom that 100 years ago seemed impalpable to women, a freedom that has ignited our nation for centuries and helped citizens young and old, poor and rich feel like an equal part of the system.

And here I was passing it up for a parking space.

We all had our excuses Tuesday, I’m sure: “it’s only the primary,” “I’m too hungry to vote,” “it’s pouring and I forgot my umbrella,” “they’re all crooked so who cares” and the tried-and-true “like my vote will really make a difference.”

While they’re great excuses, they lead me to wonder why a country whose name is synonymous with democracy all over the world has such screwed up elections.

After the presidential debacle of 2000 cast a cloud of shame over Dade County, millions were spent on new voting machines to revamp South Florida’s bad rep, but as Tuesday’s primary election showed, little has changed around here. The machines may be shiny and new, but the people in charge of them are still as clueless as ever.

Many international students are amazed at the wave of apathy that engulfs our nation on Election Day. Surely a country that prides itself on free elections would do more to encourage large voter turnouts. In Brazil, Election Day is a national holiday. In many countries, citizens are given weeks to vote.

Here we get one rainy Tuesday to pack into an overcrowded polling place where the people in charge can’t figure out how to plug in the new machines. You’ve got to love democracy!

Jackie Pitts is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and American Studies.

September 13, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web

Claire Paris-Limouzy started freediving for research and ended up becoming a record-breaking athlete who is also spearheading a Scientific Freediving program at the University. ...

Sociology scholars from around the world convened for a virtual conference hosted by the University of Miami on Thursday to explore shifting tendencies in international relocation and the implications for global social change. ...

Lauryn Williams, track and field and bobsled medalist, addressed the University community during Wednesday night’s “What Matters to U” virtual event. ...

During his appearance Tuesday on a webinar hosted by the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, tech mogul Eric Yuan highlighted the importance of a workplace culture of happiness and urged that businesses pay greater attention to the digital divide. ...

Early voting in Florida began this week and will last through Nov. 1. Here’s a rundown of everything students need to know about upcoming campus events, from the final debate watch party to transportation to the polls. ...

TMH Twitter
About Us

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.