Miami-Dade County Voters Faced Short Wait Times And Light Rain On The Last Day Of Early Voting
Voting looked different throughout Miami-Dade County Sunday. Some locations were rather empty, with little to no wait time. Other locations had full parking lots, with passionate supporters promoting different campaigns.
Voters faced the occasional light rain as they took advantage of the last day of early voting.
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At Florida International University, the polls had no lines at noon. The campus was fairly empty of people but filled with plenty of campaign signs.
A few campaign workers and volunteers sat in the parking lot ready to speak with voters. Roz Roman, 42, was campaigning on behalf of Daniella Levine Cava, who is running for Miami-Dade County mayor.
“I'm here supporting democracy,” Roman said. “It's very important not only that people come out and vote, but that they feel like they have the information that they need to make good choices.”
Roman gave out pamphlets with information about Cava and other Democrats on the ballot. She said some voters accepted the information and overall people were polite. She said she rarely sensed hostility or friction when campaigning outside the voting stations.
“[Some voters] give me a thumbs up,” Roman said. “They won't be loud and showy about it, but they'll let me know that they're glad that I'm there and showing my support.”
Roman said voting in the local elections is as vital for democracy as voting in the presidential race. She said the county faces various crises, like climate change, racial inequality, and affordable housing.
“I just believe that we are at a crossroads where we need to make the right decision for the right leadership to put our communities in the right direction,” she said.
Christopher Colindres, 18, sat in the parking lot with other members of the Florida Education Fund and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. As a nonpartisan poll monitor, Colindres was looking out for long lines or wait times. He said there hadn’t been any issues Sunday, with most voters going in and out of the polling station in less than 10 minutes.
This is the first time Colindres can vote in an election.
“I know there's a lot of people, like my family, who cannot vote because they're not a U.S. citizen or they're not at least 18 years old,” he said. “Just voting on behalf of them is such a really good privilege to have.”
Jessica Cherta, 22, went to FIU to vote for Joe Biden. She said she was happy there were no lines and that the overall voting process was fast. She voted Democratic down the ballot in hopes of seeing change.
“Just to try to put more Democratic heads in everything, because right now I'm just seeing everything is Republican,” Cherta said. “ I want more variety.”
Cherta said she has mixed feelings about the potential outcome of Tuesday's presidential election.
“You don't see as much fans out there for Biden that are as proud and as loud,” she said. “I'm just hoping that it goes our way, the Democratic way, but no one knows.”
Cherta added that she had trouble understanding some parts of her ballot.
“It should be easier to understand for a lot of people,” Cherta said. “I feel like if I'm having issues with it, and I'm from here and I was born here, then I can’t imagine for people that weren't born here. That's something that needs to be really fixed, for everybody to understand exactly what they're voting for.”
At the county’s election headquarters in Doral, the scene was more dynamic. Voters waited in a short line underneath umbrellas and tents, escaping the rain.
Kip Gulbrandsen, 63, made his way out to the polls despite the weather. He is a registered Democrat that voted for President Trump.
“I watched eight years of Obama, the Obama failure,” Gulbrandsen said. “I voted for him twice. It's the same promises I've heard for 50 years and they've always failed.”
Gulbrandsen admits that he doesn’t personally like Trump because of his attitude and tweets, but said that his accomplishments as president made a difference. He added that the country isn’t prepared for the outcome of the election.
“There's a lot of voters that are afraid to say who they're going to vote because of intimidation or whatever,” Gulbrandsen said. “I think that's really going to make a difference on who's going to ultimately win.”
Tents from different local city of Doral campaigns were scattered at the front of the parking lot. Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez was one of the candidates campaigning for reelection. He spoke to voters and a camera crew as his supporters cheered him on.
Doral councilwoman Claudia Mariaca was also there promoting her reelection. She said that although some voters she spoke to came to the polls with the national race in mind, many of them listened.
“As soon as we told them about the importance of voting for your local elected officials, they actually had a change of heart and made sure they took all our information to make an informed decision before they voted,” Mariaca said.
Mariaca stressed the importance of voters becoming familiar with their ballot before going to the polls.
“Take advantage to go online and print out your ballot. Study it so you know everything that's down the ballot,” she said. “And if you've dropped [off] your mail-in ballot, go online and track it, to make sure you got counted because you still have time to make any corrections if they need to do it.”