UM community has power to swing Florida vote


Senior Mike Mullins and junior Emily Young, the campus team leaders for Organizing for America, rally for Obama’s re-election. Nick Rodriguez // Contributing Photographer 

The national campaign for President Barack Obama is certain that the University of Miami student body will help color Florida blue.

Canes for Obama is the campus-based initiative created by Organizing for America (OFA), the Florida segment of the national Obama Campaign. The group kick-started the campaign season Wednesday with a rally featuring a visit from Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Fla.

The goal of Canes for Obama is to register, inform and involve student voters in the election process, especially in such a powerful swing state as Florida.

“Everything we do is catered to college students,” said Emily Young, the UM campus team leader.

The student organization tables daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the UC Breezeway, informing and registering students. Canes for Obama will also be hosting voter registration drives, watch parties for the debate and election, and phone-banking events to ensure students are registered to vote and then make it to the polls.

Each week, OFA releases quotas and the campuses strive to meet and exceed these before the Oct. 9 voter registration deadline.

While Canes for Obama focuses solely on the presidential campaign, the group is also working closely with Young and College Democrats, an on-campus organization that supports Obama, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Congressional candidate Joe Garcia, and Florida House of Representatives candidate Ross Hancock.

“In order to work to get change done, we need Democrats in the House and the Senate, “ said Jordan Lewis, president of Young and College Democrats.

The group advocates for the democratic platform by routinely updating its Facebook page with current events and writing a column for The Miami Hurricane on a weekly basis.

Hancock recently reached out to Lewis in an email to praise the university’s efforts.

“If state house District 114 turns from red to blue, everyone is going to know it was because UM students and the club have become a significant local political force,” Hancock said.

Although student Democrats have triumphed, many others within the UM community, like freshman Hannah Blazek, feel that their voices will not be heard.

“I’m disappointed. It’s making Miami seem so one-sided and biased,” Blazek said after she learned that there is no student organization working directly with the campaign for Gov. Mitt Romney.

Although the UM College Republicans will also be tabling, there is not an organization focusing solely on Romney.

“We have informative displays about Romney and Obama, their plans, and their distinctions,” said Alex Alduncin, president of UM College Republicans.