Voting in United States differs from Panama

Photo by Devin Coredro

Independent first-timer focuses on candidates

In Panama, it is common for citizens to vote based on the candidates’ ideas rather than party affiliation.

Perla Rosenthal is trying to follow this principle she has become accustomed to as she prepares to vote for the first time in the United States.

Rosenthal, 19, is a freshman at the University of Miami. She was born in Miami and moved to Panama with her family at 3 months of age. She grew up in Panama City, but remained a citizen of the United States. She returned to the United States in 2012 to continue her education.

Rosenthal said she was not very interested in the upcoming election.

“A friend convinced me to register,” she explained.

Her parents also told her it was important to vote and participate. She surprised herself by waiting in line to cast her vote, but was also excited to be in line outside the BankUnited Center.

Rosenthal said elections are very different in Panama. Individuals in Panama vote for the candidate they think is best for the job rather than the party with which they are associated. She said her mother was not loyal to one party as she voted for people in different parties in past Panama elections.

Rosenthal said politicians in Panama “talk about helping with poverty” rather than focusing on social issues such as religion.

Rosenthal is registered as independent. Like her parents, she is not directly linked to one particular party. Based on Romney’s ideas on taxes and the United States’ relationship with Israel, Rosenthal hopes Romney will win.

Hari Maggs, an 18-year old freshman at the UM, was standing in line next to Rosenthal. Maggs said she was very excited to be the first one in her family to utilize her right to vote.

“I knew when I woke up I wanted to vote,” she said.

Being raised by foreign-born parents has forced Maggs to shape her own political ideas and decisions.

“I feel like Obama’s whole economic policy is going to take a lot longer than four years to see effects,” Maggs stated.

Maggs said she wants Obama to remain in office to continue his current economic policies.

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One response to “Voting in United States differs from Panama”

  1. Sarah K says:

    I am an independent voter myself and find this very interesting. I have always been curious about what voting is like in different countries and how people decide which candidate to vote for. There have been times when I met someone from outside of the United States and wondered whom he or she would vote for if they had citizenship. This is a rare situation in which we can see how a person coming from a different country might view voting in the United States.