About 45 students from eight UF colleges flashed their “I voted” stickers Monday to find out which college turns out the most voters.
Students can compete in the battle from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day until Nov. 1 to help their college win. Its goal is to encourage students to become civically engaged by voting early at the Reitz Union, said Megan Newsome, a UF student who was a plaintiff in a May lawsuit that helped push for an early voting location on campus.
Four civic engagement organizations including the Bob Graham Center, the Andrew Goodman Foundation, All Voting is Local and Democracy Matters teamed up to host the event, Newsome, a 22-year-old Andrew Goodman Foundation fellow and UF astrophysics alumna, said.
Students could either show their “I Voted” sticker or tell representatives at the table if they voted, Newsome said. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences took the lead the first day with just under 20, while the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering came in second with just under 10. The College of Journalism and Communications had the most in terms of college ratio size with five.
“What we were hoping for was that if we did a competition among different colleges at the University of Florida that would get some competitive spirit going,” Newsome said.
Newsome said the idea came from the “Swampy UF memes for top ten public teens”, a UF themed Facebook meme page. In a group-wide competition, students in different colleges competed to get the most likes on a post to earn their college the title of “Battle of the top ten public teens: Homecoming Edition.”
Throughout the event, free food and prizes will be given away. Representatives from the voting organizations will answer questions about the general election. On Nov. 1, there will be a “Students March to the Polls” event at 11 a.m., where students will walk over to Reitz Union to cast their votes.
By the end of the competition, organizers hope more than 1,000 students show they voted, Newsome said.
“Once you register the vote you made with this competition, it kind of reminds you that you’re not just voting for yourself, you’re voting for everybody else,” Newsome said.
Che John, a 19-year-old UF finance sophomore, showed off his sticker Monday to give the Warrington College of Business a tally for the competition.
“Apparently the business college has the second lowest voting turnout, and I want to boost it,” John said. “It’s important that everyone votes.”