Early voting

Nestor Garcia, a 21-year-old industrial engineer major, attends the early voting session at the J. Wayne Reitz Union early Monday morning to vote for the first time.

The Reitz Union will most likely remain as an early voting location for citywide elections despite social media rumors saying it may cease to continue if turnout numbers are low.

The Reitz and other voting locations in Gainesville’s citywide elections are chosen by the city commissioners, not the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections, City Commissioner David Arreola said.

As of now, the commission plans to keep the Reitz as an early voting location, but the commission has the power to change that if it decides the cost or turnout is not favorable.

This is the first year the Reitz is an early voting location for a citywide election.

“Because the Reitz Union was authorized as an allowable voting location last November, we decided we wanted to try it out for the spring elections this year,” Arreola said.

As of Tuesday, 154 people voted in the Reitz Union, and 1,246 voted early overall in the Gainesville city elections for mayor, District 4 city commissioner and the charter amendment to create a City Charter Review Commission, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections. About 3,000 people voted by mail.

UF was on Spring Break from March 2 to March 9, during the start of the early voting.

During the 2018 midterm elections, Gainesville voted to switch citywide election cycles to follow a statewide election cycle, which occurs every two years, Arreola said.

The Reitz Union became an early voting location last year for the midterm elections due to a lawsuit filed to allow supervisors of elections to consider on-campus locations for early voting.

Megan Newsome, a 22-year-old UF astrophysics alumnus and co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, said UF led the pack in university campuses with early voting locations in the 2018 midterm elections.

While the Reitz Union will remain an early voting site for now, Newsome said it is still important to vote.

“It took a fight to get it. Therefore, it can always take a fight to get it again,” she said.

Correction: The subheadline of this article to reflect the number of people who voted at the Reitz Union as of Tuesday.

Hannah Beatty is a third-year journalism major and sociology minor from Jacksonville, Florida. She began at the Alligator in the fall of 2018 as a general assignment staff writer and now serves as the student government beat reporter.