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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Students interested in running for a Senate seat have the option of six parties to affiliate with.

Slating, or interviewing, and qualifying with parties as potential candidates began Sep. 2 on the third floor of the Reitz Union. The process will continue Sep. 3 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The election will take place Sep. 28 and 29. Students can cast their ballots at one of 11 polling locations from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. or request an absentee ballot by Sep. 15 at 5 p.m, said Supervisor of Elections Alexandra Stedman. 

This election, students will vote for 50 senators based on living areas and can choose among candidates from several different parties. The parties include: Inspire, Impact, Gator, Change, Keg and Communist

A seventh party, Socialist Party, is also registered for the election; however, its registered president said otherwise. 

“There is no Socialist Party running this election,” Piper Penney told The Alligator Thursday. 

Students who want to join Senate can also run as independent candidates by filling out the Declaration of Independency form.

At the end of the first day of slating and qualifying, seven people registered with Change, 13 with Communist, 27 with Gator and one Independent, Stedman wrote.

All candidates looking to run for a seat must be registered as a full-time student with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and graduate GPA of 3.0. They must be free of conduct probations and have no financial obligations to UF. They must also live in the area they wish to represent, according to the Student Government election rules

After winning 46 seats out of 50 Senate seats in the Spring, Gator Party holds a supermajority in the Senate with over 70 senators, according to the Senate roster. Change Party, the current minority party, won three

“Since our last election in Spring 2021, Gator Party has delivered real results for the students here at UF,” Gator Party campaign manager Noah Fineberg wrote. “We're looking for candidates who are passionate students that want to make a difference on campus.”

Change Party will announce its platform after slating concludes and their candidates are finalized Sep. 8, said Zoe Terner, party president. Its Spring platform included changing  building names with discriminatory history, creating an on-campus thrift shop and creating a memorial garden for fallen Gators. 

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“Change Party is looking for Gators who are passionate about our three pillars: justice, equity, and representation,” Terner wrote in an email. “Anyone who feels strongly about making a difference on campus and improving UF for every student will find a home with Change Party.”

Inspire, a Spring 2020 minority party that did not participate in the last election, is also registered for this election but its president, Willmar Escalante, did not respond for comment in time for publication.

Inspire previously advocated for providing discrete materials that detect if a drink has been drugged, having resources available on Canvas for students suffering with their mental health and expanding Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol and Uber Safe Rides to include morning hours. 

Former majority party Impact, which also did not participate in the last election, will be returning this election as one of the seven parties registered. Impact’s Spring 2016 platform included expanding resources to combat sexual assault, hiring more mental health professionals on campus and increasing enrollment and retention rates for students of color. 

Impact Party President Payton Carter did not respond for comment in time for publication. 

Communist Party, which was formerly known as Socialist and Progressive Party, changed its name Monday. The party is running on the platform of defunding the UF Police Department, establishing an affordable housing trust using Student Government funds and creating a Senate committee to protect leftist and LGBTQ+ students from discrimination by the state government. 

“We are looking for candidates who are willing to combat the repression of left-wing students and faculty in the state of Florida,” Communist Party President Alfredo Ortiz wrote in an email.

Ortiz has submitted a complaint to the Elections Commission stating that Socialist Party registered the name before he did as an act of “political impersonation.” He is hoping to reclaim the title “Socialist Party.”

Keg Party, which was created in Spring 2021, ran for the executive ticket on a platform for getting more alcohol available on campus, scrapping Duo Push and lobbying for stimulus checks for students. 

Keg Party President Tyler Kahan did not respond for comment in time for publication.

Taco Party attempted to register, but was denied by the Supervisor of Elections. It has no website social media found in time for publication. 

Contact Allessandra Inzinna at Follow her on Twitter @ainzinna.

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Allessandra Inzinna

Allessandra is a third-year journalism major with a minor in English. In the past, she has covered local musicians and the cannabis industry. She is now the Student Government reporter for The Alligator. Allessandra paints and plays guitar in her free time. 

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