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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Marchante

Live coverage of Election Day 2016! Ongoing coverage in Miami-Dade

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

South Florida News Service reporters, in partnership with the Miami Herald, will be producing ongoing coverage today of the elections in South Florida and beyond.
Image retrieved from Flickr.

I covered the polls on Election Day 2016 for my political reporting class. These voter profiles appeared both on the South Florida News Service and The Miami Herald.

To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled my voter profiles here:

[7:26 am] Justyce Pinkney, 21, a student at Florida International University, arrived to the Miami Dade Fair & Expo polling center prior to its 7 a.m. opening, hoping to avoid lines.

The first-time voter said she thought she arrived early enough to be the first at the precinct, but a poll worker said that others had arrived before her.

“It doesn’t matter, it still counts either way,” Pinkney said. “I’m one of the first.”

She said she wasn’t originally planning to vote but decided to do it for her younger sister, who’s in high school. Still, Pinkney said she isn’t particularly happy about either of the choices for president.

“I’m scared,” she said. 

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service 

[12:20 pm] Jose Alonzo said he was satisfied with how fast he was able to vote in his new polling precinct, the Iglesia Bautista near the main FIU campus.

However, he said he is concerned with the possibility of voter fraud because of the electronic voting system. But Alonzo has a suggestion.

“I should be able to get a photocopy of my ballot,” he said in Spanish. “Even if they have to charge me for it, I would do it.”

According to Alonzo, if voters were able to get a photocopy of their ballot, and the question of election fraud were to come up, voters could make sure that their ballot wasn’t changed.

Alonzo said he voted for Raquel Regalado for mayor because he thinks the government system needs to be restored and that one of the ways to do this is to constantly change the people in power.

“Let new people with new ideas come in,” he said.

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service

[12:25 pm] This is the first time FIU student Courtney Bradshaw, 22, has voted in a presidential election. Her main reason for heading to the polls, she said, is because of the presidential race. While she was unsure of the other choices on the ballot, her vote for president was clear.

“Not Donald Trump,” she said from the precinct at the FIU Stadium Club.

Bryston White, 22, who voted via mail-in ballot, accompanied Bradshaw to the polls. The FIU student said his main reason for voting was the presidential race, though the amendment that would allow for medical marajuana also interested him.

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service

[12:48 pm] Confusion has been occurring in the Tamiami area about where to cast ballots.

Lilliana Madrigal said it’s been a challenge to vote this year. 

“Apparently there’s three [polling places] in the same area,” Madrigal said.

A worker in another precinct directed her to the FIU Stadium Club, which she found strange.

“I’ve never voted here,” she said.

Upon arrival, however, she found it wasn’t her precinct after all and was directed to the Miami Dade Fair & Expo. Appearing agitated, Madrigal left for the Expo, hoping she would finally be able to vote.

FIU students and first-time voters Meaghan Rivera and Marco Fernandez faced similar struggles. Rivera lives in one of the university’s dorms while Fernandez lives nearby but off-campus. When they tried to vote at the FIU Stadium Club, they were told that their precinct was the Miami Dade Fair & Expo.

Rivera and Fernandez, however, didn’t seem bothered, noting the fair was a relatively short walk. 

The two declined to say who they planned to vote for, but said they feel well-informed on the issues. Still, making the choice is difficult. 

“It’s too much pressure,” Rivera said.

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service

[2:49 pm] Walking on the school’s main campus, FIU student Brenda Wong, 20, said she did early voting because she didn’t want to leave it for the last minute and the precinct was close to her house.

She said she’s been particularly active this election, watching all the debates and following various social media channels to stay informed. 

When it came to voting for the president, Wong said she knew she wouldn’t vote for “someone whose racist…and sexist.”

“You know who I’m talking about,” she said.

While Wong said she felt she had enough information on the presidential elections to make a decision, the other candidates on the ballot were another story.

“I felt lost in the ballot,” she said.

Wong tried to research the other candidates that were on her ballot but said it was extremely difficult to find enough information on them to feel educated enough to decide. The lack of readily available information, she said, is why she chose to vote based on party and gender.

“I’m gonna be honest,” she said. “If [the candidate] was a woman, I voted for them because women need to have more opportunities in positions of higher power.”

While she wished more information was more easily available on the state and local elections, she did go in knowing about the different amendments, such as the one on medical marijuana.

“It’s really interesting that Florida was considering it,” Wong said.

She voted “yes” for the amendment but doesn’t think it’s going to pass.

“Because you know how Florida is,” said Wong. 

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service

[5:01 pm] Martha Garcia, the owner of Jolie Royale, voted with one goal in mind.

“Make America Great Again,” she said.

Garcia came to Miami during the Pedro Pan operation and has always been very proud of being a Republican. The Democratic Party, she said, treated Cubans very poorly in the past and Hillary Clinton is definitely not the answer to America’s future.

“She’s a liar,” Garcia said. “Nothing sticks to her.”

She said she likes Trump because he “says everything everyone is thinking.”

Her support for Trump is also the reason why she didn’t vote for incumbent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

“He was for Hillary,” said Garcia. 

— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service

To read the other voter profiles please click one of the links below:


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