The millennial vote typically has a lower turnout in comparison to other age groups. To alleviate this gap in civic engagement, students in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and Student Government (SG) worked together to arrange transportation to the polls for early voting.
Professor Casey Klofstad, one of the professors for “The Election” class being offered this fall, explained the trend.
“The biggest factor is that younger people have not acquired the ‘habit’ of voting yet. As people age, their turnout rates increase,” he said.
Quinn Kasal, UM senior and Student Government’s director of university affairs, explained why he thinks it is so important college students vote.
“Understanding the issues facing society is an important part of our transition into leading our own lives and careers … now that most of us can finally vote, we have the right to our beliefs and the opportunity to shape our future with it,” he said.
The school is mobilizing voters with buses leaving from Stanford Circle every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 is the last day buses to Coral Gables Library will be provided by UM.
Kasal said that GOTV brought the idea to himself and SG Parking and Transportation Liaisons Lauren Rodriguez and Peri Green. SG took the proposal to Parking and Transportation, who were able to provide the bus service.
Florida is a must-win state for Trump in order to lock up 270 electoral votes. Early signs suggest the state is a toss-up.
Clinton was leading the state consistently, however her lead has winnowed. Trump is now seen with an average of a 0.5 point lead as of Oct. 31, according to Real Clear Politics.
Democrats historically receive more votes through early in-person voting, but right now the margin between the parties is razor thin.
In 2012, 2.4 million early in-person votes were cast in Florida. This state is always won or lost by a close margin. President Barack Obama won in 2012 by just 0.88 percent, or 73,000 votes.
“It is important for UM to encourage voting, period. Whether students vote early or not is not critical. What is critical is that they vote,” Klofstad said.
Some students have expressed dissatisfaction or felt disenfranchised with their options between the two major party candidates and, as a result, do not want to vote.
Klofstad responded to this phenomena saying, “you get out of the political system what you put into it. If you stay silent, the government will not be responsive to you. Select that candidate that comes closest to your ideal preferences.”
At UM, GOTV coordinated with other organizations like Students for Sensible Drug Policies (SSDP), College Republicans and College Democrats to register voters of all political affiliations.
Monica Bustinza, president of GOTV, said she revived the university’s chapter of GOTV because “UM needed a nonpartisan group who registers students to vote, educates them on the options and processes by which they can get involved civically.”
Bustinza said 2,360 voters registered at UM. Voter registration drives were held at the Medical Campus, School of Law, CaneFest, UM Resource Fairs, service days, Schwartz center, organization meetings, in the Breezeway, over the summer, on National Voter Registration Day and at the residential colleges.
Now that voter registration is over, campus organizations are going to encourage students to get out and vote. SG and GOTV’s transportation is rewarding students for performing their civic duty by passing out T-shirts, pins and stickers to those who take their buses to go vote.
Early voting is open from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6. Find out what you should know before you vote, here.