Local politicians challenge college Democrats to vote

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum

State Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and State Representative Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, charged Florida A&M and Florida State universities’ Democrats to get involved in the presidential election last Wednesday at The Edison Restaurant.

Gillum and Williams stressed the importance of voting to the intimate group of students eagerly anticipating on letting their voices be heard in the 2016 election. A majority of those in attendance said this will be their first time voting for a president.

“Five weeks, five days — that is the time we have until the first polls open,” Williams said. “One voter could really change the landscape.”

Gillum encouraged students to get their friends registered to vote, door-knock, volunteer at campaign phone banks and offer car rides to the polls.

“We used to say, arrive with five. Now we have to arrive with 10, 20 people,” he said.

With Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton slightly leading Republican nominee Donald Trump in Florida polls, the anxiety and excitement of election day could be felt throughout the room. Gillum reiterated the significance of the Millennial vote throughout his speech.

“Florida is always a 1 percent state. We either win by one percent, or lose by one percent,” said Gillum. With 69.2 million millennials eligible to vote, politicians look to this demographic as a deciding factor in elections.

Leor Tal, vice-president of FSU College Democrats said, “Your vote is your voice, and a lot of people don’t have that voice in different countries.”  

“We have the ability and mechanisms to produce change. One of those mechanisms is voting,” Tal added.

It was noted at the event that some college students don’t vote because they feel as if participating in elections doesn’t make a difference.

“You have some students that are jaded. They are frustrated with the process. If we don’t find out their concerns, we put ourselves in that position of having them stay home, not register and not vote,” said Williams.

Williams also stated that those who don’t vote when they’re young, often don’t vote when they become older.

A small voter registration sign-up and young professionals mixer ended the night.