UM students react to voting experiences on Election Day at the Watsco Center

UM students and on-campus faculty await the opportunity to vote in the Watsco Center on Tuesday. Photo credit: Lauren Whitesell

Despite the traditionally low voter turnout rates for young voters, many University of Miami students showed up to the polls on Election Day to make their voices heard in the 2022 midterm elections.

Students living in Eaton, Mahoney, Pearson and Stanford Residential Colleges and Lakeside Village who were registered to vote with their UM address were able to cast their ballots at the Watsco Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Unlike some polling locations across Miami-Dade County (MDC) where wait times reached over an hour long, the Miami Herald reported, there were no more than a few people in line to vote at Watsco around 1 p.m., which many students appreciated. Some students also commented on the pleasant atmosphere while voting.

“The line was really short, everyone was very welcoming, I didn’t feel pressure at all and everything was very well-executed,” freshman health science major Simone Thom said.

Meghan Dombrowski, a senior majoring in architecture, also thought highly of her voting experience.

“It was pretty straightforward and fast, I only had to wait for a few minutes, and the poll workers were friendly and helpful,” Dombrowski said.

Sophomore and marine biology and ecology major Bryan Robertson compared this voting experience with voting in New York, his home state.

“It was pretty much the same here, nothing too crazy,” Robertson said.

Roberston, however, was uninformed about which types of identification (ID) would be accepted. While New York is one of 15 states that use alternative methods to verify the identity of voters, Florida voters are required to show photo ID in order to cast a ballot.

“It would have been nice to know the ID requirements ahead of time, but it wasn’t an issue for me,” Robertson said.

Unlike Roberston, some students showed up to the polls without proper ID as they were unaware of Florida’s voting laws. Florida does not accept out-of-state IDs as proof of identity when voting and since ‘Cane Cards do not contain signatures, students from outside of Florida had to show another form of ID with their signature in order to vote.

With some UM students being newly-turned 18-year-olds, this election was also the first opportunity for them to vote. One of these students, freshman nursing major Isabella Gonzalez, .

“I’ve actually never voted before, this was my first time and it was amazing. It feels really cool,” Gonzalez said.

As one of over half a million new registered voters in MDC in 2022, Gonzalez found her voting experience to be very positive.

“Everyone was super nice and they just wanted to get you taken care of,” Gonzalez said.

Florida, commonly deemed a “swing state” where election outcomes are not easily predicted, is the considered ideal location to vote by some students who are originally from states that have an overwhelming majority of Democratic or Republican voters.

Some students prefer voting in Florida, often considered a “swing state” where election outcomes are not easily predicted, to voting in their home states, especially if they are from overwhelming blue or red states.

“I’m glad to be a voter in Florida where I feel my vote really has an impact as opposed to my home state where it’s primarily Democrat,” Robertson said.

Students can stay tuned for more election updates and analysis from The Miami Hurricane.

+ posts