College students say on-campus voting is a hit

College students at early voting sites on their campuses in Miami-Dade County say they are enjoying the convenience of being able to vote between classes, with some saying they believe it will significantly boost turnout.

A decision allowing the sites was handed down July 24, a result of a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida and six students from University of Florida and Florida State University. The groups claimed the statewide ban made by Secretary of State Ken Detzner in 2014 discriminated against younger voters.

As a result of the decision, Miami-Dade election officials added two sites at Miami Dade College – at the Kendall and North campuses – as well as at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus as part of the county’s 28 early voting sites.

According to county statistics, about 4,500 people have voted at the three campus sites as of Oct. 25. About 66,000 people have voted at all 28 sites.

Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, says she is hopeful this will make it easier for students to fulfill their civic duty to vote.

“This is a win for the constitutional rights of the young people,” she said. “We certainly hope that the turn out will be high for campus early voting locations. Many students live on campus and might not be able to drive to a voting location, so we are excited about this opportunity to facilitate them.”

According to the Miami-Dade Elections Department, as of October there were about 4,000 more registered voters between 18 and 25 than there were in January.

Brigham said since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, students have had an increased interest to become involved and vote.

MDC spokesman Juan Mendieta said students at the school have been encouraging voter turnout.

“Our students have been active with signage on campus and social media campaigns online,” he said. “They have been using the hashtags #MDCVotes and #VoteTogether on all posts. The college has been supporting these efforts by putting up their own signage and sending reminder emails to the students (and faculty) to vote.”

FIU students and faculty have taken on similar efforts.

The FIU Honors College located at MMC announced on their site scheduled events throughout the weeks leading up to the election advising their students on how to become an informed voter.

Student Daniel Weiland said he has benefited from FIU’s early voting site.

“I was able to vote in the hour break that I have between my classes,” he said. “It made voting very easy. Hopefully a lot of students will vote this year.”