It has been a hectic two years in Student Government. Minority parties surface every few semesters, almost like clockwork, running on promises of being a voice for students outside of the majority party. Access Party was no exception. Despite being among the few minority parties to win the executive ticket, the fall of Access has come and gone, leaving only one executive ticket on today’s and Wednesday’s ballot: Impact Party.
It’s an undisputed fact that Smith Meyers, Mario Agosto and Revel Lubin will become the next Student Body president, vice president and treasurer, respectively. Though no representatives from Impact, Progress or independent senators reached out to the Alligator for an endorsement meeting, we at the Alligator want to draw your attention to the part of the ballot you’ve heard little about: the amendments.
If you voted last Spring, you might remember seeing online voting on the ballot. Today and Wednesday, you’ll be seeing that same amendment again along with 10 others.
You may now be asking yourself, “Why am I voting on this again?” First, some history.
The UF Supreme Court Chief Justice reasons that he chose to look into how votes were counted during Summer 2016. He brought his findings to the Student Body president, who then asked him to continue looking into it. Between Summer A and B, during that one week, UF’s Supreme Court met, and then it released an opinion overturning four amendments to the UF SG constitution, which date as far back as 2008.
The amendments overturned are the following: allowing remote online voting, reducing the number of available senate seats, reducing the amount of petition signatures needed from the Student Body and adding genetic information in SG’s anti-discrimination policy. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, abstention votes where voters decide not to check yes or no, aren’t counted as a vote. But in the Supreme Court’s ruling, the justices stated the amendments shouldn’t have passed because some students chose not to check yes or no on the ballot, and these students were still part of the voting population. Because of that, the 60 percent of students needed to pass online voting dropped from 68 percent to 56.5 percent.
And then, just like that, remote online voting was killed, along with other amendments.
SG’s majority party, Impact, once supported online voting. In fact, during the only debate last semester, then Student Body presidential candidate Susan Webster announced, “The Impact Party stands behind online voting 150 percent.” We hope they are true to their word and encourage their supporters to vote for online voting.
Despite some of these election results having been certified for upward of eight years, these amendments were overturned with- out the input of the Student Body — a Student Body that funds SG’s $20,038,152 budget.
If this makes you angry, vote. If you want your voice heard, vote. But the only way to do this is to cast a ballot today or Wednesday.
Our democracy was built on the idea that the people should have a voice in government. A democracy ceases to exist when the people cease to care. A democracy falls when a few elites control everything. A democracy does not work without you.
Your vote could give marginalized groups who have fought for representation the chance to be heard. So vote.