For Aaron, a University of Miami sophomore from Great Neck, New York, it was an opportunity to get “involved in the political process” and help determine the country’s leadership. For his close friend, Elliot, it was more about making a statement—that “not taking part in the political process isn’t smart at all.”
With the national elections getting closer, Aaron and Elliot (both preferred not to give their last names) were two of the many UM students who thronged to the University Center Rock on August 30 to fill out forms that will place their names on the voter registration rolls.
It was all part of the Get Out the Vote and TurboVote kickoff event. “This year we implemented Get Out the Vote and TurboVote as part of our University’s effort to encourage civic engagement,” said Alessandria San Roman, executive secretary for UM Student Government, which coordinated the effort with support from the Division of Student Affairs.
As an official voter registration organization, UM must turn in voter registration forms within 48 hours to comply with new Florida election regulations. “We plan to surpass our record of 2,000 registered voters in the 2004 election,” said San Roman. “Of those 2,000, 62 percent made it to the polls. We plan to increase the turnout percentage this year by using social media, having our volunteers on the field the day of elections, and having our professors encourage students to make it to our local precinct, BankUnited Center.”
Meanwhile, as part of the Knight Foundation-funded TurboVote effort, members of the University of Miami community can request voter registration forms and absentee ballots, as well as receive email and text messages about upcoming elections, all through one website.
San Roman added that the efforts are strictly nonpartisan.