Student group encourages peers to vote on Tuesday

By Ashley A. Williams

Student group encourages peers to vote on Tuesday

By Ashley A. Williams
Get Out The Vote, the university’s chapter of the nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, encourages ’Canes to head to the polls.

Even before the novel coronavirus pandemic, some young adults found voting to be a daunting task. On Aug. 18, Florida’s statewide primary election is open to all voters and more than ever, the University of Miami’s chapter of Get Out The Vote (GOTV), a student-led organization, wants to ensure that students are supported and knowledgeable about how to cast their ballots.

Though Monday, July 20, was the last day to register to vote in time for the Florida primaries, Albany Muria, president of GOTV and a senior majoring in public administration, is encouraging her peers who already have registered to “get out and vote.” The positions up for election will vary by county and district, but they could include members of Congress, state legislators, mayors, judges, and city council members.

Albany Muria
Albany Muria, photographed in February 2020. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

“This is really the only direct say that you really get to have,” said Muria, who has been involved in civic engagement since the seventh grade. “The government decisions happening around you are going to have an effect on you. I just think it’s very important.” 

There are several polling locations near the University’s Coral Gables Campus, including St. Augustine Catholic Church. Florida is a closed primary state, which means only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective primaries.

To vote, registrants must be 18 years old, be a United States citizen, meet state residency requirements, meet the voter registration deadline, and must provide identification on voting day. 

Muria enjoys promoting voter engagement at the University and using her influence on peers. Though she and her team will face some inimitable challenges because of the physical distancing protocols that are meant to keep students, faculty, and staff safe, she is up for the challenge.

“It’s going to be very different. Over the past few years, we’ve built our presence on campus by tabling every week. But this year, everything is going to be done online,” she said. “The voter ambassador program will be completely virtual this year and the applications will be out this Friday.”

Webinars and social media campaigns will replace GOTV’s in-person gatherings this semester. Muria also wants to ensure that out-of-state students are informed about the upcoming November elections, so events also will be geared toward them.  

The student-led GOTV is a nonpartisan political organization that registers, educates, and mobilizes voters in the University of Miami community. The group promotes civic engagement and political efficacy and is sponsored by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership. 

Visit the ‘Canes Vote Network for more information about civic participation on campus.