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Saturday, April 17, 2021

It's all in a name when it comes to political parties competing in this fall's Student Government election.

SG's Elections Commission received five complaints about election violations Thursday, though none of the parties have candidates or platforms prepared. Four complaints concerned the use of the Gator, Swamp and Impact party names, with one prompting the commission to hold an emergency meeting Thursday evening.

Party registration had ended Thursday at noon.

William Foster, president of the Greek Party, told the commission that the Gator Party name was too similar to UF's mascot, which he said suggested that the party is sanctioned by UF.

Commissioners ruled against Foster, allowing the party to keep its name. Commissioner Patrick Jackson advised it to include "Gator Party" on campaign material, rather than just "Gator."

The remaining name controversy revolved around students who registered party names from past elections, like Impact and Swamp, despite having no previous involvement with those parties.

According to election rules from the Center for Student Involvement, party officials who used the name in the election before the current one have the first chance to register that name again.An additional complaint was filed about three hours after the meeting and will be resolved in another emergency session at 8 a.m. today, said Sarah Krantz, SG supervisor of elections.

To avoid confusion, the naming problems must be resolved before candidate qualification begins at 9 a.m. today, she added.

Keith Hardwick, president of the Swamp Party in the spring, filed the complaint against the current Swamp Party headed by Sam Miorelli. Hardwick said he initially withdrew his complaint after CSI officials stripped Miorelli of the party name.

He filed another complaint after Miorelli renamed his party "The Party Formerly Known as Swamp."

Hardwick said he hasn't decided whether his party will compete in the election, adding that students could be confused by the party names.

Former Impact Party Treasurer Ben Grove also filed a complaint against the current Impact Party, saying he had rights to the name. Grove said he withdrew his complaint after he learned of the CSI rules, since the last time he registered Impact's name was fall 2006.

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The fifth complaint was filed by Miorelli against the Gator Party but was unrelated to party names. In the complaint, Miorelli accused the Gator Party of illegally starting its campaign early.

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