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Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Screams from the Unite Party were followed by chants of "No fee!" from the Student Alliance party at the Orange & Brew Thursday morning.

The Unite Party won a majority once again, claiming the executive ticket and 29 of the 49 available Senate seats.

The Student Alliance party grabbed 20 Senate seats, including  eight graduate seats, the architecture seat, three engineering seats, the nursing seat, the fine arts seat and six seats form the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Unite Party presidential and vice presidential candidates got 5,376 votes and the Student Alliance Party received 3,921 votes.

During fall's election, the two minority parties won a total of three seats.

Supervisor of Elections Ariana Alfonso announced the results of the Student Government spring elections early Thursday morning.

About 130 members of the Unite Party and about 45 members of the Student Alliance party anxiously awaited the results at the Orange & Brew.

Alfonso said 9,775 students voted during the election. About 9,800 students voted in the spring 2009 election.

Ashton Charles was elected as the new Student Body president, Marcus Dixon was elected as Student Body vice president and Virlany Taboada will hold the position of Student Body treasurer.

“I’m just so honored to be able to represent the students of the University of Florida, and I’m just so proud to be a Gator,” Charles said.

Charles’ parents were there to support her when the results were announced.

Lona Vuskovich, Charles’ mom, said her heart was going crazy.

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“It was worth it all,”  she said. “All the work paid off."

Student Government election results and reactions: Ashton Charles, Student Body president-elect

"I am so honored to be the be able to be, not only the student body president, but the fourth ever elected woman student body president here at UF."

Ben Cavataro, Student Alliance Party presidential candidate

"Obviously we're disappointed that we didn't win the executive seats, but we're so proud of our 18 new senators and the fact that the student body rejected the new Reitz Union fee. We think this is nothing short of a Gator revolution."

Marcus Dixon, Student Body vice president-elect

"There are issues that need to be addressed with the Reitz Union and other things on campus and it's gonna take us sitting down and really finding out what options and what solutions we can come up with to address those problems. So like I said, not what I wanted to hear but we'll see where we go from here with that as well."

Sagar Sane, Student Alliance Party vice presidential candidate

"I think we definitely showed the Unite Party we're going to bring it, and I'm really proud of all of our candidates, all the work we put in for next cycle, and all the senators that were elected. I think we're gonna do a lot of good work and I'm really excited everyone was able to turn out to vote."

Virlany Taboada, Student Body treasurer-elect

"It's kinda like it's coming full circle... and now you know, being treasure elect is kinda like everything is coming together. "

Rafael Yaniz, Student Alliance Party candidate for treasurer

"Student government's not a spectator sport. Students should be involved with their student governments beyond the elections, and they should know what's going on. I'm very excited for them, but tonight is not the end of transparency reforms."

By Aundre Larrow, Alligator Multimedia Contributor

Ben Meyers, Unite Party spokesman, said he was pleased Unite won a majority of the seats.

“It’s gonna be a great year,” he said.

Although Unite gained the majority of the Senate seats, members of the Student Alliance party cheered when Alfonso announced that 56 percent of students voted against a  fee to cover the repair of the Reitz Union and 55 percent voted against a fee to cover the expansion of the Reitz Union.

They grouped together by the Reitz Union amphitheatre and shouted “No fee, no fee.”

Cavataro, who hugged Charles after the announcement of her victory, said he was  disappointed with the results but still proud of the 20 Senate seats his party won and the vote against the fees.

“That's a Gator revolution,” he  said.

Charles said the Reitz fee represents something students have voted against, and she wants to make sure to represent  them.

Students voted in favor of an amendment that will update the Student Body Constitution, and 79 percent of students voted for UF to join the Workers Rights Consortium, which works to correct labor violations in factories that make clothing with university logos.

Campaigners braved the rain Wednesday in a last-minute attempt to get students to vote. Members of both parties offered their umbrellas to passing students.

When the polls closed at 8 p.m., about 75 members of the Unite Party headed over to The Swamp Restaurant while about 11 members of the Student Alliance party went to Mother’s Pub & Grill.

Charles arrived with her mom, stepdad and younger brother at about 10:30 p.m. Her mom has been in Gainesville since Monday and made cookies for all the party volunteers.

At Mother’s Pub & Grill, members of the Student Alliance party snacked on $2 burgers and sweet potato fries. Some drank Red Stripe and Pabst Blue Ribbon, but many Student Alliance party hopefuls were at home resting before heading to the Orange & Brew.

The Student Alliance party trickled into the seating area outside the Orange & Brew beginning at 11:20 p.m.. They smoked cigars and, wearing their green T-shirts, chanted “Green means go.”

The Unite Party came at about 11:40 p.m. chanting “U-N-I-T-E,” with Meyers in the lead, wearing his lucky shorts despite the cold.

Alfonso said that the election was a smooth one overall, despite concerns over double-voting. She said the election commission will look into double voting by the end of the week.

“It was raining a little bit today[Wednesday],” Alfonso said. “I think that hurt us.”

Andrew Brown, chair of the Election Commission, said there were five election complaints filed as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, and he anticipates more will be filed. He said the election commission will be meeting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in room 287 of the Reitz Union.

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