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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Wynton White (left) and Amy Nicholas (right), Change Party's candidates for Student Body president and treasurer, watch a live stream of the UF Student Government election results on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Gator Party won the executive ticket.
Wynton White (left) and Amy Nicholas (right), Change Party's candidates for Student Body president and treasurer, watch a live stream of the UF Student Government election results on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. Gator Party won the executive ticket.

The Gator Party won its second executive ticket and maintained a majority in Senate on Wednesday. There were 6,650 total ballots cast, Supervisor of Elections Haley Price announced on a live stream Wednesday evening.

Student Body President-elect Cooper Brown and Student Body Vice President-elect Faith Maniti won with 4,629 votes, or 69.78% of the vote. Student Body Treasurer-elect Giovanna Mompremier won with 4,515 votes, or 68.85%.

Gator won 46 Senate seats. The Change Party won three seats in the College of the Arts, College of Design, Construction and Planning and a graduate seat. The veterinary medicine seat was a tie because no one voted for the seat. 

Gator currently holds a supermajority in Senate with 79 senators, according to the Senate roster. Change holds four seats, the Inspire Party holds one and there are two independent senators.

Brown will be the first Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PaCE) student to serve as the Student Body President. 

The parties usually convene in the Reitz Union to watch the results; however, this year, the UF SG Facebook page livestreamed it because of COVID-19. Brown said he had a special and intimate watch party with his mom and his close friends.

About two hours after results were announced Wednesday night, Alligator reporters saw Brown and other Gator Party members maskless in a crowd of about 50 people at an event at Downtown Fats, a Gainesville bar. 

Brown declined multiple requests from The Alligator to join their watch party, writing in a text that it would be a “really small and intimate” event, and he, Maniti and Mompremier “don’t feel comfortable having reporters there.” 

The party’s platform advocated for a “safe, responsible” in-person graduation ceremony for students. During the SG Executive Debate, Brown also said he advocated for in-person programming once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

It was an honor to be elected, he said, and he plans on getting to work the day after the election.

“This is not a win for me,” Brown said on a phone call after his victory. “This is a win for the Student Body, and we’re going to make that clear throughout the next year.”

His first priority is implementing the traffic safety plans from the party’s platform, as well as putting together a team for SG cabinets, Brown said.

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Maniti said she cried when the results were announced, and she’s still processing their win. 

“It is just a title at the end of the day,” Maniti said. “I’m so excited and so blessed, so grateful for this opportunity to be able to just continue my work.”

Price said 1,146 ballots were cast Tuesday. Last Spring, before the COVID-19 shutdown, 7,091 ballots were cast on the first day of SG election day voting, and 11,128 ballots were cast in total. 

Election results were scheduled to be broadcasted at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but a delay pushed the time back to about 10 p.m. Price did not answer email about why the results were delayed. 

Gator’s 17-point platform advocated for traffic safety measures, conservation area protection, changes to the Counseling and Wellness Center and an increase in accessibility for student services, among other things. 

Students who voted for Gator said they valued the party’s leadership capabilities, its emphasis on keeping base tuition costs low and the party leaders’ overall judgement. 

Minority parties Change and the Union Party combined on the last day of slating to create a stronger party and increase the chances of seizing a win against Gator. Ultimately, Change was unsuccessful, as Gator maintained the executive ticket and a majority in Senate.

Change’s platform advocated for increased sustainability measures on campus, pedestrian safety structures for University Avenue, accessible opportunities for first generation and international students and changes to the Counseling and Wellness Center. 

The party gathered on the top floor of the Rawlings Hall parking garage to witness the election results come in on Change’s field director Valerie Sheehe’s laptop. After losing the executive ticket and most of the Senate seats, a few members cried as they hugged one another.

Wynton White, Change’s Student Body presidential candidate, thanked everyone who was present, including his running mates, Student Body vice presidential candidate Matthew Rodriguez and Student Body treasurer candidate Amy Nicholas. 

“Unfortunately, we didn't get the result that everybody wanted tonight. But this isn't over. This is just the beginning,” he said. “And I want all of you guys to go home and be really proud of what you guys did because it was very special. A lot of sleepless nights for a lot of people.” 

White said he plans to go home, take his dogs Thirty and Shiesty out and then get something to eat. 

“I’ll take a little nap, and we’ll move forward from there,” he said. “I’m gonna keep on using my voice and my platform.”

Change filed a complaint contesting the election results Wednesday because of “shady” behavior, White said. He claimed fraternities and sororities forced members to vote. 

“We contested the results because we expected what would happen,” White said. 

It is unclear when the complaint will be heard by the SG Supreme Court. 

Gator also defeated the Keg Party, which is a new party this Spring. Keg advocated for student stimulus checks, increased alcohol availability on campus and rental electric scooters. 

Keg Student Body presidential candidate Michael Ackerman grinned and shook with anxiety as he listened to the results. When Gator won, he and Student Body vice presidential candidate Braeden Allen said they were somewhat disappointed. 

But Ackerman said he was happy with the results and that he had fun with the campaign. He said if Keg comes back next election, it will begin campaigning earlier and recruiting Senators. 

Allen said people showed interest in joining the Keg Party for the next election cycle.

“That quote, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Our campaign was like the opposite,” he said. “It was all inspiration, and yet we didn’t have to work that hard.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Gator won 46 seats in Senate. The Alligator initially reported otherwise.

Alexander Lugo, Abigial Hasebroock, Carolina Ilvento, Sofia Echeverry and Valeriya Antonshchuk contributed to this report.

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