Students gradually poured into voting precincts while being bombarded by enthusiastic campaign teams on Election Day.”I’m glad to see my cohorts are excited about who should be elected,” said Jon Broddy, 18, a freshman elementary education student from Fort Lauderdale.
“But it was a little scary when I was trying to go in (the Grand Ballroom) to vote, and I was being yelled at and harassed by different campaign members, especially the ones with the bullhorns.”
Christopher Oliver, 23, a fourth-year civil engineering student from Jacksonville, agreed.
“Just because you stand at the door and scream at me does not mean I’m going to vote for you,” Oliver said.
“My mind is already made up when I get there, and handing me fried chicken with a soda on the side, is not going to sway my vote.”
Although freshmen usually cast the majority of the ballots, Gregory Woodall, 21, a junior physics student from Atlanta said, “It was definitely a larger turnout my freshman year,” Woodall said, while holding a poster for King of Orange and Green candidate Eric O’Rear.
“It seems more students actually cared about who would be representing them on both a local and national platform, but now some students just don’t want to be bothered,” Woodall said.
Some freshmen, like Shantel Wilson, 19, an environmental science student from Clearwater, Fla., said candidates were not sincere in their quest for positions. Wilson decided not to vote. “Half of the people running for these positions, I have never seen before campaign week.
I feel like they really don’t care about the students,” she said. “This is just something else they can add to their resume to make themselves or their respective organizations look good.”
Unlike Wilson, Markashia Jeter, 19, a freshman broadcast journalism student from Atlanta and a candidate for sophomore attendant said, “Students should definitely exercise their right to vote. I see too many times on national and state levels people complaining about their elected officials, but I feel like if you didn’t vote, then your opinion doesn’t matter,” Jeter said.
Chants could be heard from the School of Business and Industry to the Grand Ballroom. Some yelled, “E to the R to the I to the C, Eric O’Rear is the Real OG.” Or “The torch, the torch, the torch is on fire. We don’t need no water vote Gillum and Bland.”
Thaddeus Welch, a junior healthcare management student from Miami, said, “Gillum and Bland are clearly the best candidates for our next SGA President and Vice President. Not only do they have more experience than their opponents, but they offer a vision for the students of this University.”
With such an intense day not only for the candidates, but the unexpected 79-degree weather, most students on different campaign teams remained cordial toward one another.
“It’s all in fun,” said Brian Walton, 21, a junior physics student from Atlanta. “I’m confident in all the candidates, that whoever is elected will do a good job and will have the best interest of the students at heart. “