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<p>A student attends the second day of voting for the UF Student Government election at Heavener Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.</p>

A student attends the second day of voting for the UF Student Government election at Heavener Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.

UF students gathered at the polls to wrap up the second and final day of Student Government voting. 

Students had the opportunity to vote for student body president, student body vice president and student body treasurer, along with 50 Senate seats. 

Tuesday brought out 6,740 student votes, Supervisor of Elections Ethan Halle said. Total votes and results will be announced in the Reitz Union Wednesday night. 

Adrian Rodriguez, a 20-year-old UF pharmacy sophomore, voted for Change Party at Norman Library after hearing about Vision Party’s history of “tampering and corruption,” he said. He also voted to help out a friend who works for Vision, he said.

“They wanted a sticker because they have, like, a thing with their party,” he said. “I was like, ‘might as well say yeah.’”

Rodriguez would’ve voted for Change last semester, but as a Jennings resident, the only senator options on his ballot were Vision and Gator Party, he said. He particularly supports Change’s advocacy for 24/7 libraries, although he doesn’t often find himself at Marston at 2 a.m.

Allison Cama, a 22-year-old UF microbiology senior, has voted for Change ever since managing diversity, equity and inclusion for her sorority taught her about its platform, she said. She doesn’t understand why Vision came about as a “rebrand” of Gator, but she tries to track party switches and vote accordingly. Her sorority, Phi Mu, encouraged her to vote, she said.

“We don’t get a point or anything, but I do know a lot of chapters get points,” she said.

Diego Cubas, a 19-year-old UF architecture freshman, voted for Vision in his first-ever UF election. He didn’t cast a ballot in the Fall, but meeting new friends who were involved in student government encouraged him to do so, he said.

“I have a couple of friends that work, or are affiliated, with [Vision],” he said. “So, he just told me to vote for them.”

Taylor Phillips, a 22-year-old UF biology senior, also voted Vision, although she doesn’t know why, she said. Phillips, who cast her ballot at Norman Library, votes every year, she said.

“It’s right,” Phillips said.

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Izabella Kelly, a 21-year-old UF marketing junior, said she voted based on her preferred party’s support of Greek life. 

“A lot of members in my sorority are involved in that party, and the party also helps Greek life a lot,” she said. “So you kind of want to keep voting for people that are going to support us.”

Kelly declined to share what sorority she’s a member of or what party she voted for because she didn’t think she should say anything Greek life-affiliated, she said.

Natalie Morgan, a 19-year old UF accounting junior, said she voted for Vision because she’s in Greek life and wanted to support all the people she knew within Vision party. Getting out to the polls was important for her, she said. 

“I needed to get out there and make a difference,” she said. “Every vote makes a difference.”

Julian Marler, a 20-year-old UF political science senior, said he voted for Vision because he shares similar views to those of his Greek life brothers, and he felt Change party makes things too political. 

“It’s not really about politics, it's about making systems and communities better,” he said. 

But for Anthony Leoncio, a 20-year-old UF business management junior, Greek life support was not a bonus.

“I don't like Greek life,” he said. “I always vote Change.”

Myzell Amaro, a 21-year-old UF wildlife ecology and conservation junior, had many reasons why he voted for Change. He wants to make sure DEI is protected at UF. He also feels Gator members joining Vision is not coincidental.

“I really liked the idea that Change is very adamant about clarity and transparency,” Amaro said. “This is a direct impact to my student experience.”

Blue Keeler, a 21-year-old UF biology senior, voted for Change because she has strong views against Vision’s ties with Greek life. 

“I find it deplorable that the Vision party is able to utilize its connection with Greek life to force all of their people to vote for their party,” she said. “I think Change party wants to do good.”

Chase Horton, a 20-year-old UF accounting sophomore, voted for every Vision candidate on his ballot at Heavener Hall. No specific policies on its platform stuck out to him, but he wanted to support Vision nonetheless. 

“I like what the platform stands for,” Horton said. “I’ve seen no problems, so there’s no reason to change it.” 

Nathaniel Collins, a 20-year-old UF computer engineering junior, voted for Change because he agreed with a lot of their policies. He hasn’t followed this semester’s platform but supported Change in Spring and Fall 2023. 

“I didn’t see anything that would make me change my mind this year,” he said.

Nelson Calles, a 21-year-old UF political science senior, also voted for Change. They didn’t want to vote at first but then realized there was a chance Change could win, they said. They liked Change’s graduate platform because they know how difficult being a graduate student can be, they said. 

“I think what I liked about Change Party's platform is that they connected with that underrepresented section of the student body,” they said. “It’d be like, ‘we’ll defend you.’” 

Valerie Santos, a 19-year-old UF biology freshman, voted for Change. The party’s focus on diversity is what drew her in, she said.

“All the DEI stuff is really important to me, especially with new state legislation basically forbidding it,” she said.

Austin Mathews, a 19-year-old UF history sophomore, also voted for Change because of its push for more accessible voting.

“I think online voting would be a really cool option,” he said. “Sometimes I just don’t feel like making the trip to vote in person.”

Serena Sander, a 19-year-old UF chemistry and religion freshman, opted to split her ballot between Change and Vision candidates, voting for the Change president and secretary but mixing the rest of her votes between the two parties.

“There were specific people in Vision I talked to, specific candidates that I agree with what they want to do,” she said. “And specific candidates in Change that I agree with what they want to do.”

Kaiden Joy, a 20-year-old UF computer science sophomore, said he voted for change because it aligned with his own political beliefs. He was reminded to vote today by a close friend. 

“[Vision] Party seemed a lot more to the right than I originally liked,” he said. “Change Party seemed like a change of pace.”

Frans Alvarez, a 21-year-old UF economics junior, opted for Change with one exception — he voted for Vision candidate Marquis Viel, a fellow economics student and his internship coworker, for the accounting college nominee. Alvarez voted because he got a text from Viel that morning, but he’s never voted in a UF election before and doesn’t plan on doing so again, he said.

“Change is associated with Democrats,” he said. “And Vision, they used to be Gator Party, and they claim to be a mix of both, but I just agree more with Change.”

Zoey Thomas, Bailey Diem, Delia Rose Sauer, Sara-James Ranta and Alissa Gary contributed to this report.

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