After she found out that UF had a Student Government, Gabriella Steele cast her first-ever ballot on Tuesday, one of about 4,482 students to do so on the first day of SG elections.
The day’s turnout was low when compared to last Spring’s first day of elections.
UF Supervisor of Elections Eric Hobbs said 2,162 fewer votes were cast, down from 6,644 in Spring 2016.
Unlike last year’s election, Impact’s Student Body presidential, vice presidential and treasurer candidates are all running unopposed. Progress Party president Casey Witte attributed the low turnout, in part, to a lack of advertising by the current SG administration.
“I feel like that’s a real failing on behalf of the current people in Student Government,” he said. “Right now it almost seems like they’re trying to hide that an election is going on.”
Steele, a UF entomology and nematology junior, was walking through Turlington Plaza when someone from Impact told her why her vote mattered.
So she voted, breaking her semesters-long streak of abstention.
The 20-year-old said she wished the wording for the proposed amendments had been less confusing.
“I just voted for what I understood,” she said.
While students went to the polls, Impact and Progress Party were on campus encouraging others to vote.
Impact Party spokesperson Janae Moodie wrote in an email that Impact had a great first day of elections.
“Our candidates enjoyed meeting students all over campus and are excited to meet even more tomorrow,” she said.
Pablo Delvalle, 21, said he decided to vote because he knows Chase Werther, an independent senate candidate running for a seat in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also wanted to support online voting, but skipped over the other questions.
“I looked at them, but most of them I abstained because I didn’t want to read them,” the UF nuclear engineering senior said. “Too much jargon.”
Students can vote today from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. After polls close, results will be announced at 9:30 p.m. on the North Lawn.
Contact Paige Fry at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @paigexfry