First-time voters share enthusiasm and anticipation ahead of 2020 election

By Jenny Hudak

First-time voters share enthusiasm and anticipation ahead of 2020 election

By Jenny Hudak
For many students, the 2020 presidential election will be their first chance to vote in an election, and their peers are putting in extra effort to ensure they are election ready.

On Nov. 3, several students will be heading to the polls for the first time to cast their ballot in the 2020 presidential election. Ahead of voter registration deadlines in various states, student groups on campus have begun their final efforts to mobilize young voters on campus.

Nationally, young voters are among the least likely to participate in elections. To overcome this challenge, Get Out the Vote (GOTV), the University’s student-led voter engagement group, has focused on registering and educating fellow ’Canes about the importance of civic engagement.

“If everyone our age voted, we would have the power to shift the results of entire elections,” senior Estefanía Caputo, a GOTV executive board member said. “People don’t realize the power their vote could carry." 

As election day steadily approaches, first-time voters on campus share their excitement ahead of their inaugural election season.

 Ximena Mendoza, a first-year student studying neuroscience: 

“I’m excited because it’s the first time I feel like I can make a difference politically in this country. I’ll be doing mail-in voting just to be safer during the pandemic. I hope my vote will bring change. I want to see a lot of things change, and I hope my vote helps do that.”


  Christopher Papa, a first-year student studying civil engineering:

“I think it’s cool how we have the power to implement change in our government and say how we feel about policy and things in our country because not everybody around the world has this right. It’s so important to embrace it and take advantage of it. Especially living in Florida, I think this is an important year to vote. Younger people have been on the decline in voter turnout, so I think it’s important for kids our age to get out there and participate.”


Angelica Kuca, a sophomore studying accounting and finance:

“I’m excited to finally use my voice. I think voting is really important so I’m glad that I’m finally able to take part in that. I want to make use of that and not waste that. Remembering previous elections, it feels good to finally feel like I have a say in who I want to vote for.

Kennedy Debow, sophomore studying sociology:

“It’s exciting, but a lot of things are at stake so I’m a little nervous. I feel like my vote really matters this year, especially being GenZ. I hope everyone on campus and everyone around the country also makes sure they get out to vote.”  

Will Fleck, a first-year student studying business:

“It’s really interesting, we don’t realize that not a lot of people are afforded the opportunity to vote. We have to realize we’re given this opportunity, and we have the opportunity to make history depending on how the election pans out. So, I’m excited. I’m from Massachusetts, so I’ll be voting absentee.”




Coordinated by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, the ’Canes Vote Network is a coalition of students, faculty, staff, and community members who are passionate about civic participation in the University of Miami community. The ’Canes Vote Network provides online resources for students to register, request ballots, and find local polling sites and will be hosting various events through the remainder of the election season to help all voters be election ready.

Below are a couple of dates to keep in mind:

  • Debates Watch Parties on the University Foote Green:
    • Oct. 7 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. (Vice Presidential debate)
    • Oct. 15 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
    • Oct. 22 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
  • Voter Registration Deadlines:
    • Oct. 1: Last day for out-of-state students to register to vote on-campus
      • Voter registration event at the Watsco Center from 7 to 9 p.m.
    • Oct. 5: Deadline to register to vote in Florida
    • Oct. 10: Encouraged deadline to request a mail-in ballot
    • Oct. 24: Deadline to request a mail-in ballot in Florida
    • Oct. 19: Early voting begins in Miami-Dade
    • Oct. 24 through Oct. 31: Early voting in Florida
    • Nov. 3: Election Day