Friendly rivalries savor end of road

Students maintain democratic spirit

University of Miami students who voted at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables,  demonstrated civility as they calmly waited as long as three hours to show their patriotic spirit and submit their ballot.

Representatives of  the university’s Young Republicans and College Democrats set up tables next to each other near the end of the line, sharing food and jokes as they made final pitches on behalf of their candidates.

“We are able to separate politics from people,” said Young and College Democrats member Brandon Barsky, 19. “We try to advocate our point, but don’t show hatred toward the other side.”

Young Republican member Alexander Rodriguez, 21, said, “Both Republicans and Democrats understand that there has to be change, but we suggest it all in friendliness.” He added jokingly that the two groups “hate” each other, then laughed at his remark along with a College Democrat sitting next to him.

Both organizations had avoided accusing the other of interfering with their campaigns.

“There have been cases where all our Romney signs have been taken down, but it wasn’t from the College Democrats,” said Rodriguez.

“I’ve seen a couple signs knocked over that weren’t ours, but I wouldn’t blame the Young Republicans,” said College Democrat Dylan Swart, 18.

In the spirit of friendship, the two groups are planning to participate in a paintball match after the election.

Voters contained frustration with the considerable length of the Florida ballot. As well as voting for president and vice president, students had to vote on candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the merit retention of judges, 11 amendments to the Florida constitution, county commissioners and charter amendments. The constitutional amendments were in language students said they found confusing. Despite these difficulties, they didn’t forfeit the right to vote.

“It’s discouraging, and it accounts for the long line,” said University of Miami student Andrew Ordilley, 18. “But at the end of the day, you still have to do it.”

Kaleigh Kozak, a 19-year-old University of Miami student, who waited two hours said, “I have some difficulty reading it all carefully, and I come from a political background.”

Some students joined the line with a sense of relief, knowing that months of politicking were coming to an end. “There is too much apprehension, so it will be nice to finally get a result so that we get a reassurance about our future,” said University of Miami student Samuel Colon, 19.

“I’m looking forward to people not talking about things they are not informed about,” said University of Miami student Jennifer Talarico, 19. “As well as an end to political Facebook statuses and people-bashing.”

More like this: Coral Gables | Election - Miami

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3 responses to “Friendly rivalries savor end of road”

  1. Carlee R. says:

    I really like the way you decided to focus the piece on the students and their actual election day experience rather than who they think should win and why. I also like how you interviewed the two major student political groups on campus and showed how they interact. I definitely thought there was more tension between them, so to see that they maintain a friendly relationship is a nice surprise. The students’ opinion on the length of the ballot was interesting to read about as well.

  2. S.L. says:

    Your focus on the civility among students despite the differences in their political views resonated with me for a number of reasons. First of all, I think it is important, especially in such a competitive and important election, for us as American citizens to remember that people, not issues, come first. My family was divided, half of us supporting Obama and half supporting Romney, yet we made it a point to stay calm and civil during discussions throughout the entire political campaign. My roommates and I were also divided and were able to commit to the same theory. Again, people before issues. The political environment today has been very ostracizing between the opposing parties. Your article serves as a strong reminder that as citizens we can and should remain civil. After all, democracy is all about compromise.

  3. Laura Y. says:

    I enjoyed reading this piece about the the two rival groups at the University of Miami. As a student, I often wondered how they handled the tension the election provoked in between the two parties, and it’s good to know that they are able to see past their differences and get along. Many students were not able to do the same and a lot of arguments broke out, so like everyone else, I’m a tad relieved it’s over. Very well written piece.