By the end of Monday night’s student senate meeting, senators passed a bill that will establish a new voting precinct on campus.
Pending approval from the Board of Trustees and a signature from Carlton Bailey, assistant dean for pharmacy student affairs, a new voting precinct will be in the new pharmacy building.
Graduate Sen. Jarryd Jackson, author of the student bill, told the senate that Bailey gave his verbal consent. Senate President Keon Hardemon said Jackson had five days to obtain written consent from Bailey.
Jackson, 22, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Bradenton, decided to write the bill because he felt students in the new pharmacy building were at a disadvantage.
For most students, when they want to vote, they do not have to travel very far to do so, Jackson said. But students located in the pharmacy building have to walk from the bottom of the hill to the Dyson Pharmacy Building.
Jackson and other supporters of the bill, said students are supposed to be able to go to the precincts in between classes, if necessary, to vote and make it to their next class on time. But having to go to Dyson is an inconvenience for students with busy schedules.
“I decided to write the bill because I feel the students in the new building are disenfranchised geographically,” Jackson said. “I spoke to different students in the college of pharmacy. I’ve researched how many students it (the bill) will affect positively.”
Although it seems as though pharmacy students have classes in Dyson, most students do not, Jackson said, noting that Dyson is used for labs.
Currently, pharmacy, allied health and nursing students vote in the Dyson Pharmacy Building.
If the BOT approves the bill and Bailey gives his written consent, the bill will only affect pharmacy students.
“The people in allied health and the people in nursing will still be able to vote in Dyson,” Jackson said.
One of Jackson’s supporters, junior Sen. Candice Elliott, 20, said there are many students that are not involved with voting because campaigns do not always target the new building.
“A lot of students from different cultures are there and a lot of them don’t even run for office,” said Elliott, a political science student from Orlando.
During her three years in the senate, Elliott has received some complaints from pharmacy students who were unhappy about having to trek from the new building to Dyson in between classes.
Instead of voting in Dyson, those students will vote in the Frederick S. Humphries Science and Research Building.
Although no one voted in the negative for Jackson’s bill, there were some cost concerns.
Some senators brought up the fact that if a new precinct is established, money would have to go toward bringng a new voting machine, paying for more precinct supervisors and supplying more ballots.
Senior Sen. Torey Alston, 21, the bill’s sponsor, said SGA has a $3.2 million budget so if more money is needed, the senate should be able to give it, said Alston, a business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.
“Once we allocate the funds, we can move forward to the Board of Trustees meeting to get it confirmed,” Alston said. “This is the first of many steps in the right direction.”
Contact Brandon D. Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org