Democracy in action: voting is a fundamental expression of citizenship

Photo courtesy President Frenk

In most countries of the world, students start their university education at exactly the same age at which they become active citizens. This is a golden opportunity to engage in educational experiences that can shape a sense of shared citizenship. At the University of Miami, we endeavor to prepare students both to develop rewarding careers, and also to be constructive and responsible citizens of their communities. We call it education for life, and it is one of our priorities.

In a democracy, the action that best exemplifies citizenship is the act of voting, which gives actionable expression to the fundamental principle of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” immortalized by President Abraham Lincoln.

The Nov. 6 midterm elections are quickly approaching—a major civic date for those of you who are US citizens. Although you will not be voting for president this time around, your vote is still extremely important. Whether you are voting in key races for Florida governor, U.S. Congress, and other local government representatives, or casting an absentee ballot in your home state, all of these elected officials have a direct impact on your day-to-day life. I am delighted to share that your fellow UM students have been at the forefront of the non-partisan Get Out The Vote initiative, completing more than 1,000 Florida registration forms in time for the mid-term elections.

Here is your call to action.

· Get informed on the issues and facts. Register for Our Democracy in 2018: ’Cane Talks on Policy and Participation in the U.S. on Nov. 2, part of the UM Alumni Association Audrey R. Finkelstein UM Experience. These three 10-minute presentations by UM faculty will be followed by an interactive conversation with the audience.

· Vote early. Early voting started in Miami-Dade and Broward counties this week and runs through Nov. 4. UM students can access special shuttle service to the Coral Gables Library branch Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. Shuttles leave from Stanford Circle every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that Nov. 2 shuttle service departs from Mahoney/Pearson due to Homecoming festivities.

· Vote on Nov. 6. Watsco Center is a polling site on campus for assigned voters. Look out for more information on ’Canes Vote Extravaganza on Election Day.

Much can be accomplished when you exercise your right to vote. As an informed and engaged citizen, you help to shape the future for all of us. Make your voice count.

This column was first published on Life@TheU on Oct. 25, 2018.

Frenkly Speaking is a monthly column by President Frenk for readers of The Miami Hurricane. Got a question for President Frenk? Send it to