Last Spring, the results of the Student Government Spring elections were decided before students made it to the polls. Only one party was running for the executive ticket, so no matter how many students voted, they only had one option.
It’s usual to only see one party participate in the SG elections. It’s also usual to see a two-party election cycle.
For the first time in almost 10 years, we find ourselves voting between more than just two parties. This means, for the first time in nearly a decade, UF students have the ability to shape the makeup of SG. You have the power to decide which party best represents your interests and vote for a Student Body president, a vice president, a treasurer and senators who will advocate for you. Above others in recent semesters, your vote really matters in this election.
On Monday, The Alligator’s editorial board endorsed candidates for SG. While we believe our endorsements will serve the Student Body best, we recognize there’s a greater importance of simply having students’ voices heard.
It’s worth a reminder that people have fought for the right to cast a ballot throughout history, and the progress for every individual to have that right has been slow. Even now, many students remain voiceless, unable to cast a ballot due to the physical distance that separates them from Gainesville. There are resources for these cases, but some lack knowledge of how to obtain a physical absentee ballot while others may not even know this is an option.
In the past, only a fraction of the Student Body has exercised that right. But if you want change to come, you need to make it happen. You have the option to choose who among the three parties will spend a $20 million budget in a way that best supports you. You have the option to decide who shares your values. As for everyone else, you get to vote them out.
Perhaps there is a party that reflects what you wish to see in SG. With three choices, the options are there.
Another reason we at The Alligator encourage voters to go to the polls is, in the case of a run-off, it would mean at least another week of campaigning between the two parties who receive the highest percentage of votes. Should no party win at least 50 percent of the votes, it could mean another week of dodging campaigners in Turlington Plaza and at the Reitz Union.
On a more serious note, today, high school students are marching on the state capitol, demanding lawmakers be held accountable for their position on gun control in the wake of a shooting that left 17 students dead. Too young to vote, they’re making their voices heard and driving nearly seven hours to do so.
All you have to do is walk into the library, the Broward Hall basement or one of the other nine locations and vote.