Get Out the Vote (GOTV) is a national organization that helps college students register to vote for every election and helps ensure that people have access to vote. At the University of Miami chapter, the organization goes above and beyond for students to fulfill their constitutional right.
After registering over 700 new voters this semester, GOTV UM will be offering roundtrip free rides through a partnership with rideshare company Lyft from Miller Circle on campus to the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center, which is the closest early voting location. Students can use the code “Canesvote22” and rides will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“Previously, we would rent buses on certain days and times to bring students to early voting,” GOTV UM president Antonella Criscola said. “The Lyft rides provide more flexibility for students to take a little time out of their busy schedules and vote.”
Not only is GOTV, a nonpartisan organization, providing the ability for many students to vote early, but they are also striving to make sure that people know who will be on the ballot before they go to their polling place. One way they ensure that students are knowledgeable is through their website Miami.edu/vote.
“On the website we have a link where anyone can put in their address and find out who will be on the ballot and what their positions are,” Criscola, a Weston, FL junior studying political science, said when discussing the Votebuilder tab on the website. “An informed voter is always more important for our democracy than an uniformed voter.”
GOTV has also partnered with the election website Ballotpedia and the advocacy group National League of Women’s Voters to inform students about critical down-ballot races for the constituency around campus including state, county and constitutional ballot measures. This partnership allows GOTV to ensure that each student who votes is not surprised when they enter the booth.
“Our goal is the educate each office and initiative and what the candidates they stand for regardless of party,” Criscola said. “Sometimes a Republican can do a local position better than a Democrat and vice versa so no matter what party they are registered for.”
The information given by GOTV has been critical for many students who moved to Miami for school and still do not understand the politics in the city and state. According to one student, it helps them feel much better about the decisions they make in the booth.
“I’m glad that they [GOTV] provide the backgrounds of the candidates,” David Paul, a Melville, NY native and senior at UM majoring in business technology and psychology, said. “Instead of asking one of my friends who have their own opinions about who they think should win, I can see the candidate’s stances and make my own decision.”
Even though GOTV’s primary purpose has ended with the voter registration deadline ending, the organization is still trying to have a strong in-person experience on campus. One way they are doing this is tabling at events to make sure students pledge to vote.
“We still want to have some part of the political process on campus before November 8,” Criscola said. “Going to these events to show face and showing that we are not endorsing either side is really important for our organization.”