Union Party joined Change Party Tuesday, leaving students with two party choices for the UF Student Government Spring election: Gator and Change.
With the two minority parties merging on the last day of slating, there will be two candidates running for each executive position. Both Gator and Change announced their executive ticket candidates in the last week.
The SG Spring election will take place on Feb. 23 and 24. Students will elect a new Student Body president, vice president, treasurer and 50 senate seats representing colleges.
The decision to combine the parties grew out of a mutual aspiration to bring change to the current SG system, Change Party President Zoe Terner said.
“We realized the independent movement is always going to be the strongest when we are joining forces and not competing against one another,” she said.
Terner will continue to act as the party’s president, but Change’s executive board will expand to welcome officers from the former Union Party, she said.
“We’re saying that the issue of fighting for a Student Government that is truly representative of all students is bigger for both parties than any one party or any one name,” she said.
The parties also decided to merge after three minority parties ran in Fall, causing them to compete with each other rather than against Gator Party, Ethan Lomio, president of the former Union Party, said.
Gator currently holds 75 of the 100 Senate seats, giving them a supermajority in Senate.
Lomio said he looks forward to developing a campaign that incorporates both parties’ plans and ideas to create a stronger platform than seen in past years.
“We stand for the welfare of the everyday student in their struggles with finances with their communities,” he said. “We fight so that the everyday student can sleep easy and succeed.”
For Change, Wynton White is running for Student Body president, along with Matt Rodriguez as vice president and Amy Nicholas as treasurer. For Gator, Cooper Brown is running for Student Body president, with Faith Maniti for vice president and Giovanna Mompremier for treasurer.
Party officials said they are unsure when the parties’ platforms will be released.
After five days of mostly virtual slating, a total of 261 students interviewed with parties, according to Hayley Price, supervisor of elections. Of this number, 180 students interviewed and affiliated with Gator, and 77 with Change.
“I’m happy that over 260 students were able to slate,” Senate President Cooper Brown wrote in an email. “It’s great to see this many students engaged and wanting to be a part of Student Government.”
It is still unknown whether election voting days will also incorporate social distancing alternatives, as online voting is still declared unconstitutional and early voting has not been added to the Spring 2021 election special rules yet.
This article has been updated to reflect that the supervisor of elections is Hayley Price. The Alligator initially reported otherwise.
Contact Carolina Ilvento at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolinaIlvento.
Carolina is a second-year journalism major with a minor in sustainability. In the past, she covered stories and events for WUFT, and she is now reporting on Student Government for The Alligator. Carolina loves to do yoga and go to the beach whenever she isn't writing.