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Friday, September 29, 2023

As the Unite Party and the Student Alliance party continued to campaign, 5,289 students cast their votes Tuesday on the first day of Student Government elections.

Supervisor of Elections Ariana Alfonso  said about 300 more people voted than on the first day last spring, probably because of the ballot questions concerning the Reitz Union fee and the constitutional amendment.

“This one has a more important referendum, so that’s why I think there was a higher turnout on the first day,” she said.

Ben Cavataro, Student Alliance party candidate for Student Body president, said representatives of the party spoke with many different students as they made their way to the polls.

“A very large number have expressed interest in the election,” Cavataro said. “I’ve never seen the Student Body so fired up and ready to vote in an election.”

Cavataro said he expects an even better turnout of voters today.

Unite Party spokesman Ben Meyers said the Unite Party hopes even more people will vote today because the party wants students to have an influence on their colleges and how the university's SG budget is used.

Meyers said a good number of students stopped to talk with Unite Party volunteers and expressed interest in the party's platform.

“We were very pleased with that,” Meyers said. “We’re very pleased to see so much involvement.”

Crystal Durham, a pre-pharmacy sophomore, voted for the first time during this election.

She said the prospect of an additional fee to cover the expansion of the Reitz Union was one of the issues that drew her to the polls.

“I think it’s important for everyone to get involved with the decisions that get made,” Durham said. “It’s our money they use, so we should have a say.”

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Although there was a high turnout at the polls, Alfonso said there have been concerns about students double-voting, and there was a report of stolen stickers from the Florida Gym.

She said that if students violate the rules of the election, they will be held accountable.

“Enough people double-voting could definitely compromise the integrity of an election, and that’s why we take it so seriously,” Alfonso said.

SG elections continue today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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