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Sunday, September 19, 2021
<p>UF College Democrats is offering voters free rides to polling locations, including the Supervisor of Elections County Administration building at 12 SE First St., for the Gainesville city elections on Jan. 31.</p>

UF College Democrats is offering voters free rides to polling locations, including the Supervisor of Elections County Administration building at 12 SE First St., for the Gainesville city elections on Jan. 31.

The Gainesville city elections are fast approaching, and, if two UF organizations have anything to say about it, students will be flocking to the polls.

Elections, which will be on Jan. 31, will match eight candidates against one another for the at-large 1 seat of the Gainesville City Commission, three candidates for the District 1 seat and candidates for the Republican Presidential Preference Primary.

In the March city elections, 57 people voted at the Reitz Union polling site.

UF College Democrats hopes to change the low number of student voters with its Vote 100 campaign, which aims to convince at least 100 UF students to vote this year.

Kyle Pendergrass, vice president of political affairs for the UF College Democrats, said the campaign includes collecting students' commitments to vote on either election day or in early voting, calling committed voters with reminders before the elections and offering rides to polling locations.

In addition, members will be advertising outside the Reitz Union on election day. The campaign has been successful so far, gaining 26 commitments in its first week.

"Our goal is to make [the process] as easy as possible for voters," he said.

The city elections may seem trivial to some students, Pendergrass said, but city officials make decisions on issues that directly affect student life, such as apartment rates and bus routes.

"We're here for four years," Pendergrass said. "It's our home, and we need to have a voice in how the city does business."

The UF College Republicans will also be active on election day. However, its strategy is a bit different from previous years.

Matt Pesek, UF College Republicans spokesman, said the club's focus is getting registered Republicans to the polls because the Republican Presidential Preference Primary is on the same day.

"On election day, we will be tabling on both Plaza of the Americas and Turlington Plaza with information on each candidate," Pesek said.

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The primary and city candidates are placed on the same ballot, meaning voting in the primaries gives people the chance to vote in city elections. In any case, Pesek said, making the commitment to vote is key to an active political life.

"If you really want an influence on how the government is run, you must vote," he said.

UF College Democrats is offering voters free rides to polling locations, including the Supervisor of Elections County Administration building at 12 SE First St., for the Gainesville city elections on Jan. 31.

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