Without a car, Bianka Ramirez juggled courses, a 30-hour workweek at Subway and the pressure of being a first-generation college student during her freshman year.
“There are students in the same situation who aren’t able to make the time to vote in the midterm elections,” the 21-year-old UF philosophy and economics senior said at Tuesday night’s Student Senate meeting.
Despite Ramirez’s story, UF Student Government Senate decided not to debate a resolution — a nonbinding written statement — calling for optional class attendance on Election Day, Nov. 6. The resolution was sponsored by community leaders including Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and seven student organizations, such as the UF College Democrats and UF Young Americans for Freedom.
The resolution stated 24.1 percent of UF students voted in the 2014 midterm elections. Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while UF offers courses from 7:25 a.m. to 10:10 p.m.
The resolution would support students who face obstacles when heading to the polls, said one of the bill’s authors, Zachary Amrose, a 20-year-old UF political science junior.
“Voting is so important that professors should consider making class attendance optional to facilitate voting,” Amrose said. “That might convince some students to vote who otherwise don’t think it’s a big deal.”