By Amanda Gonzalez Garcia and Isabel Pulgarin
With the November elections just days away, it is important to have a plan in place to vote. But no matter whether you choose to vote by mail or inperson, it is also important to have an understanding of who you are voting for.
For this, there are various sources such as Vote 411 that offer nonpartisan resources that are specific to your county and city.
“In 2022, all 50 states will elect representatives, 36 states will elect governors, and 34 states will elect senators, along with a wide variety of local and state offices,” according to the Rock the Vote website.
The Buccaneer conducted a survey of 54 students and found 46 percent intend to vote this midterm election, with 28 percent answering “no” and 26 percent answering “maybe.”
Inflation is a major concern. “In fact, the three top concerns, among seven items included, relate to prices – for food and consumer goods (73 percent are very concerned about this), gasoline and energy (69 percent) and the cost of housing (60 percent),” reported the Pew Research Center.
There is a set of amendments and referenda up for consideration this midterm, including tax consequences of flood-protection improvements to homes and a measure intending to deal with the housing affordability crisis in Florida.
A crucial race is the one between current Governor Ron DeSantis (R) since 2019 and Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (D). The governor term is one of four years of service, but re-election is an option without exceeding a term of 8 years.
Of the 39 students who chose “yes” or “maybe,”44 percent intend to vote for Governor DeSantis and 41 percent for Crist.
DeSantis is running on his pandemic record of protecting small businesses and keeping schools open with children attending class in the midst of COVID-19. In July 20, 2021, he gave an executive order that offered parents the right to choose whether their kids wore masks to class.
The governor also fronts his Parental Rights in Education Act, deemed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which outlaws the teaching of gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten to third grade, his block of critical race theory, and his support for a bill banning transgender girls from playing female sports.
Former Governor Charlie Crist, who governed from 2007 to 2011 for one term as a Republican and has been a U.S. Representative for the 13th district since 2017, in turn, is against all these actions and vows to codify “a woman’s right to choose” after DeSantis signed into law the ban on abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. He accuses the governor of dividing the people of Florida rather than uniting them.
Up next in the U.S. Senate is current Senator Marco Rubio (R) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D) of the 10th district. Rubio is a two-term senator and Demings, a former Orlando police chief, is a three-term congresswoman.
Out of the 39 responses from Barry students, 46 percent favor Demings while 33 percent favor Rubio.
Rubio is co-sponsoring a national 15-week abortion ban that contains exceptions for rape or incest but has previously relayed he personally doesn’t believe in any exceptions. Demings, meanwhile, supports abortion up until fetus “viability.”
After the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland took the lives of 17, Rubio said he would support tighter restrictions on the sale of some firearms, but this past summer voted against a bipartisan gun control bill he claimed went too far to restrict gun rights. The bill required universal background checks and closed the “boyfriend loophole” that would bar anyone from a gun who has been convicted of assault of an intimate partner.
This is a point of criticism for Demings who supported the “Red Flag” Gun Safety bill. She also supports a federal law protecting rights to voters, unlike Rubio who maintains it’s never been easier.
In Georgia, the crucial race for governor is between incumbent Brian Kemp (R) and Stacey Abrams (D). As referenced by Ballotpedia, this election can cause a big shift for the state.
“This election could change Georgia's state trifecta status. Georgia has had a Republican trifecta—meaning Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature—since 2005,” stated Ballotpedia.
Governor Kemp, also since 2019, signed into law a strict abortion ban on pregnancies around six weeks as one of his first actions. After being caught up in court appeals ever since, it was immediately implemented when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Abrams holds the same sentiments as Crist and intends to repeal it.
On guns, Kemp spearheaded and got permit-less carry legislation allowing open possession of concealed handguns in public. Abrams hopes to reverse this law and work toward more reform-like red flag laws and closing background checks.
Abrams, potentially the first Black female governor, has long been a voting rights advocate. In 2018, she founded Fair Fight Action, an organization based in Georgia to address voter suppression.
How ever you may vote in these elections, the most important task is to simply do it, especially during these midterms.
In Florida, there’s lots to explore on the ballot. Briefly, per the Florida Division of Elections website:
Federal Offices: U.S. Senate (one of two seats) and Representative in Congress (all districts)
Multi-County and District Offices: Governor and Lieutenant Gover- nor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Agri- culture, State Senator (all districts), State Representative (all districts), State Attorney (6th and 20th Judicial Circuits) and, Public Defender (20th Judicial Circuit)
County Offices: (Vary by county) Board of County Commissioners, School Board (nonpartisan), and Other constitutional offices depending on county
Judicial Retention (Nonpartisan): Justices, Supreme Court of Florida (only those whose terms expire January 2023) and Judges, District Courts of Appeal (only those whose terms expire January 2023)
Circuit Judges (Nonpartisan): Only those whose terms expire January 2023
County Court Judges (Nonpartisan): Only those whose terms expire January 2023