Students come out for on-campus block party

Despite juggling their busy workloads, class schedules and study groups, some students were able to make time for one more thing on Tuesday: voting.

The BankUnited Center served as the University of Miami polling center Tuesday for the Florida primary elections. According to the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, approximately 1,488 voters are registered to vote at UM’s precinct and 1,000 of them are between the ages of 18 and 29. The voter turnout for this week’s election will not be determined until next week, according to the elections department.

To encourage students to vote, members of Council for Democracy, Young Democrats, College Republicans and Get Out the Vote held a block party in front of the BankUnited Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There was music, free food, free T-shirts and dozens of patriotic red and blue balloons decorating the area. Each organization sponsored a table with information on voting and the different candidates.

Sebastian the Ibis also made an appearance dressed up as a political candidate in a black suit and tie, and complimentary shuttle service from the University Center to the BankUnited Center was offered until voting closed at 7 p.m.

Despite the efforts to bring students out to vote, the scene at the block party was relatively quiet. Only a few students were seen lingering at the tables, and the lines to vote were virtually nonexistent.

“I think a lot of people did early voting, which started about two weeks ago,” said senior Christie Miller, chairman of College Republicans.

While the turnout at the block party was small, some first time voters were pleased with the efforts to encourage students to vote.

“I was glad that they had stuff reminding people to get out and vote,” said freshman Scott Monat, referring to the table on the UC Rock urging students to vote. “They tried to get a good turnout, but it didn’t look like it happened.”

Natalie Riera may be contacted at