Early voting pizza party event organized by UNF professor made it easy to vote

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

“I know that when I was an undergrad, I lived on campus and I didn’t have the means to get to a voting location,” Mikayla Beaudrie, a University of North Florida English professor and organizer of an early voting event for students last week, said. 

Closing out October, Beaudrie partnered with UNF’s Intercultural Center, the Center for Community Based Learning (CCBL) and the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) — UNF’s faculty union — to make early voting easier for UNF students.  

Students were invited to the Osprey Clubhouse for a pizza party where volunteers had information about early voting and, with funding from UFF, would shuttle them to an early voting site at the nearby Pablo Creek Regional Library. 

“I think that it’s really important for students to be able to have first the opportunity to be able to go out and vote,” she said. “Being able to share with students an opportunity that I didn’t necessarily have was particularly important to me.” 

papers on a blue table
Information about how to register to vote, request a ballot and more was available to whoever attended the event. (Justin Nedrow)

Not everyone who attended was able to vote in Duval County but volunteers were prepared. 

“We had a lot of students who just kind of stopped in, we brought them in with the free pizza, they stayed to talk about how to vote,” the professor explained. 

Because there is no longer a polling station on campus, Beaudrie said she hoped the event would allow students who aren’t able to leave campus the ability to vote. Citing low turnout, Duval Elections Commissioner Mike Hogan shut the polling station down in 2019, according to previous Spinnaker reporting

Beaudrie said that she’d love to host a similar event for every election season but that, at the end of the day, it comes down to budgeting and funding. However, she does think there’s enough “student buy-in” to support it happening again. 

Pizza stacked on a table
Danyelle Stokes (left) and Jacinda Legons (middle) of UNF’s Intercultural Center helped volunteer at the event, handing out pizza and other food items. (Justin Nedrow)

Of course, the event was more than just getting students to vote that same day, but also provided information about how to vote. 

“I think today was successful because it’s not necessarily just about students who go out to vote. It’s about the students who were also here, who came in and created voting plans. It’s about students who didn’t necessarily know how to register to vote or when the election was,” Beaudrie said with a smile. 

“If one student left here today finding out something new about voting, then it was a success in my book.”


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