The BankUnited Center will serve as a polling place for the presidential primary tomorrow, but voters in Florida will find the value of their opinions significantly decreased.
The national Democratic and Republican parties have penalized Florida delegations this year, after the Republican-controlled state legislature moved the date of the primary up from March. The Democrats have removed all of Florida’s delegates, while the Republicans are only accepting half for the nationwide total.
Nonetheless, students are feeling motivated and are taking measures to ensure they will participate in the primary season.
California resident Brittany McFadden, junior, applied for an absentee ballot last Tuesday.
“It wasn’t easy,” McFadden said of the application process. “I think it’s difficult especially being a college student, we have so much going on. We’re constantly encouraged to participate and vote. And I think that a lot of college students don’t know what’s involved [in the voting process].”
Although the deadline has passed to vote-by-mail in the Florida primary, students like McFadden whose permanent residences are in states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, still have time to apply for an absentee ballot.
Depending on the state, the application deadlines range from Jan. 29 to Jan 31 for the 24 states holding their primaries on Super Tuesday, and later for those holding it after Feb. 5.
Furthermore, Florida holds a closed primary, which means that only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote in their respective primary. So unlike other states where registered independents can impact the election, Florida independents must change their political party to vote.
“I didn’t know that I couldn’t vote as an independent,” said Mark Newbill, a junior. “I want to be involved but I missed the deadline [to change my party].”
A Democratic candidate must win 2,025 delegates out of the 4,040 total, and a Republican candidate must win 1,191 delegates out of 2,380 total. The party nominees will be selected June 14 to attend their party’s national convention, and since the races are close on both sides, students feel pressed to participate.
“I think there’s been a lot of publicity on the news and even on campus, especially with the Democratic debate, that encourages students to go and vote in the primaries,” said Junior Adriana Kiszynski, who interned for Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martinez this past summer despite being a registered Democrat. “I believe [the primary is]just as important because you want to vote for the candidate that you want to see in the general election.”
Erica Landau may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Primary winners
Iowa: Barrack Obama; Mike Huckabee
Michigan: Hillary Clinton; Mitt Romney
Nevada: Hillary Clinton; Mitt Romney
New Hampshire: Hillary Clinton; John McCain
South Carolina: X; John McCain
Wyoming: Democrats don’t vote until Mar. 8; John McCain