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Sunday, February 25, 2024

It’s fair to say that the outcome of the Student Government Spring elections were known well before it was announced.

With an uncontested executive ticket, Impact Party claimed the Student Body president, vice president and treasurer positions, along with all but two Student Senate seats.

With only six races where there was more than just one student running, the story of the elections could have written itself. We wish we could say we were surprised. We weren’t.

But we at the Alligator are not going to take this space and time to point out how a one-party system is detrimental to a democratic system. We have harped for far too long on that topic. Instead, we want to discuss online voting and how it met an unnatural death long before it reached the ballot and the students.

Because even though SG is mandated by the Florida legislature, it controls a more than $20 million budget, funded by the students of UF. That means they’re using your money to keep you from voting.

Opposers to online voting say that if students are able to vote from anywhere — their rooms, their hometowns or even across the world — it would lead to coerced voting. It may lead to groups of students getting together and being told how to vote. But the problem is, that is going to happen, no matter the voting system. And for those concerned about the security of online voting, it’s already online. When you sat down to vote today, if you did, you sat at a public computer and typed in the same URL as everyone else.

The reason UF needs online voting, other than being the only university in the SEC to not have it, is because it would increase voter turnout. Do you truly believe having about 6,869 students showing up to vote, in a population of about 50,000, is good? With a voter turnout of about 13 percent, UF’s voter participation trails behind less developed countries including Afghanistan, Poland, Nigeria and India. We think it’s pathetic. A university cannot be truly for the students if there is a system in place that does not cater to all.

With UF increasingly admitting more students in Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PaCE) and Innovation Academy, two non-traditional programs that have students spend less time on campus, we can only imagine their voices will continue to get shut out in the coming elections. Ultimately, what those students care about will not matter. We have stripped away their voices, and their vote. And SG has only itself to blame.

Why do we blame SG? For one, the 11 proposed amendments on the ballot came as a surprise to us. To make matters worse, anyone glancing at the questions would have to thoroughly read and understand what the questions are asking. And even then, there are still questions. But what’s more, SG did a poor job of advertising the elections. If you went on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, you wouldn’t even know an election had happened.

Instead of making voting as convenient as possible, somehow SG made this year’s voting a greater inconvenience than ever. We beg the question: Why are they OK with students being voiceless? Do they care about maintaining their power that much?

But the reason behind this is moot. The fact is, unless UF’s administration is willing to step in and enforce democracy at its core, nothing will change.

It's great UF.

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