Some said they were Carrying out an obligation
The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is a popular spot for golfers, vacationers and food lovers. On Election Day, however, hundreds of citizens visited the hotel for an additional purpose – to vote for the next president of the United States. Among them was Hector Rodriguez. “I’ve been voting since I was 18, about 30 years,” he said. “It’s my obligation as an American.”
The Biltmore, a landmark, Mediterranean Revival style tower that opened in 1925, hosted precinct 427, one of hundreds of polling places in Miami-Dade County. From the street, drivers could see swarms of people on the hotel’s front lawn, some walking toward the entrance carrying registration cards and driver’s licenses. Others walking out wearing “I voted today!” stickers.
“I will wear this sticker all day to show my country I fulfilled my duty,” said Rodriguez’s wife, Barbara. “Voting is how I give back to a country that has given me everything.”
The Rodriguezes were born in Miami and are first generation Cuban-Americans, like many others in Miami-Dade County. Hector Rodriguez said he was looking for work. His wife said she worked as a hostess in a restaurant. For them, stabilizing the economy was the most important political issue.
Some people were voting for the first time. One of them was Brendan Dunn, 18 and a theater major at Miami-Dade College. “It’s a very close election and the future of the country depends on it,” she said.
“I feel like this election has had a lot more hype,” Dunn said. “Seeing how everyone’s been talking about it told me I had to come here today.” She said she will need a job at some point. “Romney says he can give me one,” she said. “So he’s got my vote.”