Cartoon inflatables, free printing and a video from UF President Kent Fuchs. All that was necessary to get 239 more students to vote on the first day of elections than last year.
Supervisor of Elections Henry Fair said 6,723 students voted Tuesday across 11 on-campus voting locations. Last Spring, 6,484 students voted on the first day. In Spring 2017, 4,482 voted.
Wednesday is the last day for students to vote for the Student Body president, vice president and treasurer as well as 41 contested Senate seats by college and year.
The first day of voting was met with some technical difficulties. Within 30 minutes of the polls opening, students reported getting an “access denied” pop-up message, Fair said. The issue affected students with UFID numbers that start with the number “0” but did not prevent anyone from voting.
UF Student Affairs Information Technology department corrected it before noon, Fair said.
Laure Deliscar was motivated to vote on the first day of Spring SG elections after she learned students pay $19.06 per credit hour to fund it.
“It was just eye-opening,” the 18-year-old UF biology freshman said.
Deliscar, who is a first-time voter, found out that student fees are allocated to SG after walking with an Impact Party representative in Turlington, she said.
Deliscar said she gave most of her votes to Impact because she liked their platform of longer library hours, which would help her as a student that lives on campus.
But she voted for an Inspire candidate for senator because she liked some of the candidate’s ideas but said she has faith in all the individuals on the ballot.
For Deliscar, some important issues she cares about are mental health on campus, especially for first-year students and diversity at UF.
“I feel that either way, some good will come out of it,” she said. “It’s not that there is a bad or good party, it’s just they have different ways of making campus better.”
Friends Deneen Wang and Joshua Dela Pena walked to the polls together but walked out with different ballots.
Wang, a 21-year-old UF microbiology and cell sciences junior, voted for the first time after her anatomy exam.
Wang, who is an Asian American, voted for Inspire Party presidential candidate Zachariah Chou, who is Asian American.
She said she admires his tenacity and believes it will carry over into his potential presidency.
“He makes everything available to the mass of students,” Wang said. “He lets us feel aware of what’s going on.”
Wang said she filled her ballot with Inspire’s candidates because she wasn’t as informed of Impact’s candidates.
The controversy surrounding Impact Party presidential candidate Michael Murphy’s former racially insensitive and homophobic Facebook posts altered Wang’s perspective on the election.
“I feel that what he’s said in the past, he still believes,” Wang said. “I don’t want to vote for anyone who believes those values.”.
This election will be Dela Pena’s third time voting in a UF SG election.
The 20-year-old UF economics junior chose not to limit himself to party lines. He cast a vote for Santiago Gutierrez, Impact Party’s candidate for treasurer and his friend.
Dela Pena said students should come out to vote for what they believe in, no matter what the party, in order to get their voice heard.
“Every vote counts, even though many may have the opposite thinking” Dela Pena said. “I just wanted to do my part.”
Alligator staff writers Hannah Beatty, Mikayla Carroll, Lakshmi Gomez and Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.