Register To Vote By July 20 To Make Your Voice Heard This Election Season

Miami-Dade County elections and the Florida primaries are just around the corner. 

But—before casting a ballot on August 18—you must register to vote by July 20.  You can register here.

“We need more students to feel inspired to exercise their right to vote and realize that all elections matter and impact each other,” said Maritza Allen-Brown, who currently serves as an civic ambassador for the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Kendall Campus. 

Here’s a look at what’s on this year’s ballot: 

Miami-Dade County Elections

In Miami-Dade, voters will elect a new mayor, and seven county commissioners—that is the most open seats on the 13-member committee since 1992, according to The Miami Herald

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and five commissioners must leave office this year because they will reach their two-term limit in November. Two are running for reelection, and the other two—Xavier L. Suarez from district 7 and Esteban L. Bovo, Jr. from district 13—are running for Mayor. 

District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who will not reach her term limit until 2022, is also running for mayor. 

The three other candidates running for Gimenez’s spot: real estate broker Ludmilla Domond, law firm manager Monique Nicole Barley and former mayor Alex Penelas

Also on the ballot: the county’s state attorney position. Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has served in the role for 27 years, is running against civil rights and criminal law attorney Melba V. Pearson

Police brutality protests in the last month and a half—ignited by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police—has put a spotlight on the position after news surfaced that Fernandez has never charged an on-duty police officer in a fatal shooting, the Herald reported

There are also several state representatives, circuit and county judges running for election. The sample ballot can be viewed here

Local elections are nonpartisan, meaning voters can cast a ballot regardless of whether they are registered as a Democrat or Republican.  

“Local elections are where we make our voices heard on the issues we care about,” said Kendall Campus iCED Coordinator Marygrace Longoria. “Local elected officials, like our Miami-Dade County Mayor and and county commissioners, make decisions on the services that impact all our lives. A lot of the things we deal with every day are decided at a local level.”

Florida Primaries 

State elections, however, are a closed primary. That means voters must be registered as a Democrat or Republican to cast a ballot. 

The primaries occur when voters indicate the candidate—within their registered party—they believe should compete against the opposing party’s nominee during the general elections on November 3.  

In Florida, there are state senator, state representative and congressional representative positions up for grabs. 

Where To Vote This August

Voters can find their polling location here. Residents can vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during early voting and on Aug. 18. 

Kendall and North Campus will host early voting sites from August 3-16. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, voters are encouraged to request a mail-in ballot before the August 8 deadline at 5 p.m. A mail-in-ballot can be ordered here

“With more young voters, we can influence decisions that will affect our future livelihood, instead of just sitting and waiting for others to make choices that might not benefit us,” said North Campus iCED Civic Ambassador Omeiya Rahman. “Voting means taking charge of your life.”