On Saturday, November 3, 2018, the Miami Dade College’s North Campus opened its doors to host a bipartisan early vote event presented by All Americans Vote in partnership with March for Our Lives, Young Invincibles, Hispanic Federation, and many others. The event’s purpose was to encourage people, especially students who are eligible to vote, to come out and cast their ballot at an early voting location situated just a few steps away from the Show Up Miami Early Vote Concert stage.
Although everyone was welcome to join the fun, people in between the ages of 18 and 35 were the crowd that was expected to show up the most. As we know, young voters are the largest voting bloc in the US, but have historically lower rates when it comes to turnout at elections when compared to older generations; hence, giving away their say to others. If this group would actually exercise their right to vote, they would make the decision this upcoming election.
A blue t-shirt with the word “voter” on the front and the 2018 voter guide were given to attendees as they were coming in. The voter guide was the event’s bible. People were actually engaging and glancing over it, whether they took the voting plunge that day or not. The ballot this year is long and Floridians have quite a lot of decision making to do regarding not only their future, but the country’s future as well.
For that reason, it is imperative to become educated on what we are voting for and who we are voting for in order to make an informed decision. Usually, these types of events help voters understand elections better without influencing you to vote for a particular party. For many people who attended the event, but did not vote, this was more of a “research” experience, as they wanted to know more about the candidates.
“This will be my first time voting! As a long time skeptic, I’ve always been the one who says why even go bother, why vote? But I realized that as a young person born in the United States with the rights to vote, it’s only right to make my voice heard,“ said Juan Zuluaga, an MDC student.
After reading the voter guide, Zuluaga (21) headed to the voting site and expressed to me how empowered he felt and how being able to contribute to his country made him feel proud.
In between performances and speeches, I had the pleasure to interact with and talk to many students who were not eligible to vote, but still wanted to get involved and learn about the issues stated on the ballot. That way, when the time for them to vote comes, they have a clearer view of how elections work. They weren’t only there to get a free t-shirt or see DJ Khaled up-close; it was significant to them to let people know that when people vote, they are not only voting for themselves and their families, but they are also voting for those who can’t.
Attendance was poor, and I realized how hard it is to get young people to get out there and vote. If a free concert doesn’t motivate them to get out of the house and vote, I don’t know what will. All elections are important, but midterms are crucial because we have the opportunity to entirely reshape the House of Representatives and much of the Senate. In the US, we have the opportunity to decide who we want to elect into office, a privilege that those in other countries don’t have, so we must take advantage of what we’ve been given and never take it for granted.
People say that this generation of young adults is known for not caring and not speaking for what is right, but we must prove them wrong. So, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend an early voting event or go to your nearest precinct on early voting days, don’t worry! Remember that November 6th is the official election day, and you will have the whole day to vote. Grab your friends, siblings, or pets and make your trip to the polls a lot more fun.
To find your local polling place, visit https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/
Article by Cynthia Paola Bautista
Photos and video by Camilo Gomez