Election day coverage in Miami-Dade

2018-11-16T15:32:06+00:00 November 6th, 2018|News, Politics|

As of 8:15 a.m. campaigners were helping to direct traffic in the parking lot at the Ramblewood Condominium voting site in Kendale Lakes.

As voters came in, the campaigners showed them where to park while handing out flyers. Many of the spots are reserved for residents.

What started as one campaigner quickly grew to six, with two each representing different candidates.

These candidates included Republican Marili Cancio, who’s running for State Senate in District 40, independent Daniel Sotelo, who’s running for State Representative in District 119, and Republican Juan Fernandez-Barquin who’s also running for State Representative in District 119.

— Montenise Jackson, South Florida News Service

Sandra Espinal campaigning on Election Day outside the Opa Locka Methodist Church at around 8 a.m. (Vanessa Osorio/SFNS)

Sandra Espinal, a candidate for the Opa Locka Commission, said she decided to run for office because she’s tired of the corruption. She wants to bring change to a city that has been plagued by years of publicized issues and misuse of municipal funds.

“I’m trying to find better opportunities and have the state of Florida invest in the city which believe it or not, it’s almost 50 percent Hispanics,” she said. “I don’t know much about politics, but I have been a resident for the past 35 years and I am tired of seeing the city destroyed.”

Espinal is one of four women running for the commission. Her opponents are Audrey Dominguez, Anna Alvarado and Christine Banks.

— Vanessa Osorio, South Florida News Service

Natasha Cortes, at 9:18 a.m. campaigning for Democrat Andrew Gillum outside William H. Lehman Elementary school in Kendall. (Alejandro Silva / SFNS)

Natasha Cortes, 28, arrived at William H. Lehman Elementary in Kendall before the polls opened this morning. She is also campaigning for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor.

“I have always voted Republican, until this election, which I feel Democrat is the right way to go,” she said.

She said that gun control and health care are the two key factors for her in this election.

“It is our right and our responsibility to vote, and we shouldn’t take it for granted,” she said.

At a bit after 9 a.m., polls were not crowded. Voters said it is taking no more than 10 minutes to cast their ballots.

— Alejandro Silva, South Florida News Service

Kristin Richards showing off her “I Voted” sticker. (Lanna Exilus/SFNS)

At 8:58 a.m. Kristin Richards walked out of Hubert O. Sibley K-8 Academy in Miami after voting. Richards has no party affiliation but comes from a conservative background and went to school in a liberal area.

She said that she voted because it was her civic duty and its important towards making sure certain amendments on the ballot to get passed and not passed.

“We are very privileged to be able to vote, as many things people think go wrong in this country, this is one thing that goes right,” Richards said.

— Lanna Exilus, South Florida News Service

Agnes Rodriguez after voting in Kendale Lakes, Florida. (Montenise Jackson/SFNS)

Agnes Rodriguez after voting in Kendale Lakes, Florida. (Montenise Jackson/SFNS)

Agnes Rodriguez said she walked to the polls at Ramblewood Condominiums in Kendale Lakes.

“This election is extremely important,” she said at 9:25 a.m. “There’s changes to be made. If we don’t vote now, we’ll end up with the same things we’ve been dealing with the last few years.”

She’s a registered Democrat, and voted for members of that party.

While no candidate in particular brought her to the polls, she said her daughter’s passion for Amendment 13 played a role. If passed, the proposal will end dog racing in Florida.

“She will definitely be voting in the next election,” said Rodriguez of her daughter, who is turning 18 in January.

— Montenise Jackson, South Florida News Service

Diclan Nwonu, exiting the polls after he casted his vote a little after 10 a.m. at William. H Lehman Elementary. (Alejandro Silva / SFNS)

Diclan Nwonu, 63, was born in Nigeria and came to the U.S more than 10 years ago.

This was the sixth time Nwonu has voted, but he said this one was special because he believes Amendment Four can help the community by giving convicted felons the chance to vote again.

“It is important to elect somebody who is reliable and trustful of making a change, I encourage all Americans to go out and vote, and I think that Democrats have a better chance of doing so than Republicans,” said Nwonu, on his way back to his vehicle after casting his vote.

— Alejandro Silva, South Florida News Service

Around 10:30 a.m., Adeline Shelby, 20, a marine biology student at the University of Miami, voted for a Democrat candidate for U.S. Congress who was once the school’s president.

Donna Shalala was president of University of Miami for 14 years and is now a candidate for District 27.

“I voted for Donna Shalala since she was the university’s president and I feel like I just had to show my support for that,” she said.

Shelby said it is important for young people to vote.

“We’re the next generation and it’s our duty to come out and vote,” she said. “As we’re getting older, it’s becoming our responsibility, not our parents or grandparents.”

— Yeskanisayka Urbina, South Florida News Service

Helen Rosales showing her voting receipt. She said she couldn't vote because the signature she provided and the one in the system didn't match. (Edda Leon/SFNS)

Helen Rosales showing her voting receipt. She said she couldn’t vote because the signature she provided and the one in the system didn’t match. (Edda Leon/SFNS)

Helen Rosales didn’t vote Kendale Elementary School, though not for lack of trying.

Rosales said she couldn’t vote because her signature on her driver’s license and the one, filed under her name, in the electoral system didn’t match.

Rosales said she remembers signing her name the same way since she was a little girl. She said the voting process seemed “very sketchy.”

“I’m upset,” she said. “Someone could’ve voted for me already.”

Rosales said she and poll workers tried to void the wrong signature on the spot. It didn’t work.

They then gave her an address where she would be able to correct the issue, but she said she had to go to work and wouldn’t have time to do it.

Even though Rosales couldn’t vote, she said “everyone’s voice is important.”

“People don’t understand how critical it is to vote,” she said. “They say ‘Oh, I don’t like either one. I’m not going to vote.’ You have to vote even if you don’t like either one. And see which one is not the worst.”

Robert Rodriguez, a staffer for Miami-Dade County Elections Department, said there are different procedures depending on the voter’s issue and circumstances.

He said if voters have issues with their signatures, they are able to use a provisional ballot that will later be sent to the department’s canvassing board the same day.

He also said affidavits can also be filed by voters when there are signature discrepancies. The legal document helps to confirm their identity.

An email sent to Rosales to ask if she was offered a chance to vote provisionally was not immediately returned.

— Edda Leon Suarez, South Florida News Service 

Andy Hemingway, 70, and Nancy Hemingway, 68, outside the Watsco Center supporting Democratic candidates. (Yeskanisayka Urbina/SFNS)

Andy Hemingway, 70, and Nancy Hemingway, 68, outside the Watsco Center supporting Democratic candidates. (Yeskanisayka Urbina/SFNS)

Around 11:45 a.m., Andy Hemingway, 70, and his wife, Nancy Hemingway, 68, came to University of Miami’s Watsco Center to support Andrew Gillum and motivate students to vote.

The couple are parents a recent University of Miami graduate.

“Our daughter just graduated from the university,” said Andy Hemingway. “She’s working on the Donna Shalala campaign, so we came down to support them and the other Democratic candidates.”

Hemingway, a retired administrative law judge, said he believes that voting is important for everyone’s future and it’s a civil right that shouldn’t be taken away from anybody.

“I didn’t know about Amendment Four, on restoring voter rights and I think it’s a big deal,” he said. “You broke the law, you go to jail, that’s good enough for me. Just because you committed a crime, you lose the fight to vote? I don’t support that.”

— Yessy Urbina, South Florida News Service

Miami-Dade County Public School Police Department Ofc. Naima Biamby, Sgt. Dubraska Guevara and Ofc. Marcio Mayorga Jr. all work for stood outside of Kendale Elementary School Tuesday morning wearing shirts that said, “Cops yes on #362.”

Biamby, 29, said she believes the country is in a state of crisis and everyone should all go out and support what they believe in.

“It’s important to vote because this is a time when it matters the most,” she said. “iI you are seeing the news every day there is something different going on, from immigration to students not having enough money to go to school.”

Guevara expressed her concerns about child safety.

“We need more cops in our schools, at the end of the day it’s about child safety, that’s our priority,” she said. “If we can get 362 to pass then hopefully we can get all the resources we need to provide safety for these kids.”

— Adrialys Gutierrez, South Florida News Service 

Line of parked cars around Southwest Miami High School at 11:30 a.m. (Camila González/ SFNS)

Southwest Miami High School is holding a teacher training session from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. while being a voting site.

Vania Henry, a trainee teacher, had to park two blocks away from the school entrance, due to lack of parking spaces.

“Holding teacher training here while holding the voting site is an issue for parking and it might discourage voters,” said Henry, who arrived at the school in the early morning.

Oscar Rojas, a Republican voter, who came at around 11:30 a.m., however, did not encounter any issues. For him, the line was short and he in and out in minutes.

“There was probably traffic in the morning, but not now,” said Rojas.

— Camila González, South Florida News Service 

Cy Arman, 30, on his way out of Stanton Memorial Baptist Church filling out information. (Lanna Exilus/SFNS)

Cy Arman, 30, on his way out of Stanton Memorial Baptist Church filling out information. (Lanna Exilus/SFNS)

Cy Arman, 30, was exiting the voting polls at Stanton Memorial Baptist Church in North Miami, FL around 12:40 p.m.

Arman, who works at Barry University for their athletics department, is a Democrat.

He said convicted felons are human too, and that they should have their rights to vote restored, along with the younger generation being more important than the older generation since times are changing.

“It’s the rights that we fought for and we’re limited to what we can do anyways,” said Arman. “Our right to speak on what we need to say, this is one of opportunities to do so.”

— Lanna Exilus, South Florida News Service

Mathew Melendez at South Miami Elementary School. (Amber Diaz/SFNS)

Mathew Melendez at Miami Heights Elementary School. (Amber Diaz/SFNS)

Mathew Melendez, 22, is a student at Florida International University. Melendez voted at Miami Heights Elementary School at around 2 p.m.

Melendez is registered as a Republican, and has been politically involved since the presidential elections.  Melendez says it’s important to come out to vote to make sure one’s voice is heard.

“People usually that don’t vote are the ones that are complaining,” he said. “If I want someone different elected, I have to go out and make the difference myself.”

Melendez felt strongly about Amendment 4, saying it was important to allow felons to vote after serving their time.

“I think it is right to have you right back, and your voice heard,” he said.

Melendez said his generation has had a hard time getting politically involved, and that people would rather sit down on social media and complain rather than making a difference.

“That is just our generation,” he said.

— Amber Diaz, South Florida News Service

Police Officers Naima Biamby, Dubraska Guevara and Marcio Mayorga standing outside of Kendale Elementary School wearing shirts supporting Senate Bill #362. (Adrialys Gutierrez/SFNS)

Police Officers Naima Biamby, Dubraska Guevara and Marcio Mayorga Jr. work for Miami-Dade County’s Public School Police Department.

 Biamby, 29, said she was here to vote “yes” on the ballot for SB #362.

She believes this country is in a state of crisis and tat everyone should all go out and support what they believe in.

“It’s important to vote because this is a time when it matters the most,” said Biamby. “If you are seeing the news every day there is something different going on, from immigration to students not having enough money to go to school.”

Guevara, alongside her colleagues, expressed her concerns regarding child safety.

“We need more cops in our schools, at the end of the day it’s about child safety, that’s our priority,” said Guevara. “If we can get 362 to pass then hopefully we can get all the resources we need to provide safety for these kids.”

Adrialys Gutierrez, South Florida News Service

Angel Aquelles and Yaima Morales with their daughter showing their support for Manny Diaz. (Adrialys Gutierrez/ SFNS)

On Tuesday Evening, Angel Aquelles, 54, was standing outside City of Hialeah Fire Station located in 4200 East 8th Ave around 5:00 p.m.

Aquelles, an Uber driver, said he has been here since 12:00 p.m. along with his wife and daughter passing out flyers for the campaign of Manny Diaz who is running for State Senate.

“We need change in this country and today is the perfect day to make it happen,” he said. “I brought my daughter out with me today because I want to teach her the importance of voting.”

Yaima Morales, Aquelles’ wife, said that her and her husband took time off from work to vote and campaign for the Republican Party.

“Being an immigrant has showed me to not take something as voting for granted,” she said. “In my country we don’t have elections, this is why today is an important day for me and my family.”

Adrialys Gutierrez, South Florida News Service

Erica Marquez, a first time voter, outside the Brickell Presbyterian Church. (Natalia Molina/SFNS)

Erica Marquez, a Mexican woman who came to the United States with a residency classification, became a citizen this year and gained the ability to vote.

“It is my first time voting,” said Marquez.  “I am so excited. When I initially apply to be a United States citizen, I only thought about this moment.”

Marquez emphasized the importance of voting and how with her vote she can make a difference. 

“I believe every vote counts, I voted with faith so we can make a change,” she said.

At about 5 p.m.Monica Barrasa, 25,  said she wanted to “vote for change”.

“I vote to exercise my democratic right,” she said. ” I am vegan and this time I am standing for the environment and to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint”

— Natalia Molina, South Florida News Service

Cory Shearer campaigning with Andrew Gillum outside the South Regional/Broward College Library in Pembroke Pines. (Vanessa Osorio/SFNS)

Cory Shearer campaigning with Andrew Gillum outside the South Regional/Broward College Library in Pembroke Pines. (Vanessa Osorio/SFNS)

On Tuesday evening, Cory Shearer, 47, was campaigning for Andrew Gillum outside the South Regional / Broward College Library on 7300 Pines Blvd. in Pembroke Pines.

Shearer said he voted in memory of friend Jannette Burnett, who died earlier this year.

“The only thing she complained about during her final moments in the hospital was someone eating her [food] and the enactment of Amendment 4,” said Shearer.

— Vanessa Osorio, South Florida News Service