Reitz union voting sign

The Reitz Union has been designated an early voting site for the 2018 general election from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3.

The fight to get early voting on Florida campuses lasted longer than Megan Newsome’s undergraduate career.

The 22-year-old astrophysics researcher said she’ll be at the Reitz Union to cast her ballot during early voting this election. Anyone registered to vote in Alachua County can vote in Room G-50, next to the hotel entrance, starting at 9 a.m. today.

“A lot of students didn’t know why we were fighting for so long,” Newsome said. “All the work was worthwhile.”

Newsome and other members of UF Vote Everywhere, a group aimed to increase voter turnout, spent four years reaching out to politicians like the Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and State Rep. Chuck Clemons for support. They were met with rejection every time, Newsome said.

Newsome and Jaime Roy, another Vote Everywhere ambassador, filed the lawsuit in May with the Florida League of Women Voters and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which funds Vote Everywhere.

A judge’s injunction in July allowed for on-campus early voting locations for the 2018 midterm elections, Newsome said. 

“You don’t have voting rights without voting access,” she said.

TJ Pyche, the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections spokesperson, said the polling station costs a total of $35,416 to run.

The on-campus location is an opportunity for people to vote in between work and classes, Pyche said.

“The goal is to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote does vote,” he said.

Contact Jessica Curbelo at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jesscurbelo