Students will be able to see signs of campaigning student body president candidates around campus today. However, candidates will no longer be able to set up their own polling sites, in March.
Student Government hopes changes to the election process will make it cleaner and smoother.
One of the biggest changes, said Supervisor of Elections Michael K. van Hoek, is that candidates are no longer allowed to operate mobile polling stations.
“It was the first thing people told me about and the first thing that I saw that really needed to be tidied up,” he said.
Students on campus will be able to vote only at 12 designated polling stations around the University.
Students who are off campus will be able to vote online with a new election management system through Blackboard.
“I think students will find accessing the ballot to be much easier than it has been in years past,” van Hoek said.
Voting will be conducted for four days from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. only, rather than two days for 48 hours straight.
Van Hoek said the reason for the change is that there were many stories about candidates hosting late-night parties with laptops and getting people to vote for them.
“I think students are going to find this to be a much cleaner election,” he said.
Student Government has an informal goal 10,000 voters, said Nathan Davison, SG director of marketing and public affairs.
Last year, 5,165 students voted in the general election — that number represents 13 percent (of the student population), van Hoek said.
“Our goal is 10,000 educated and informed voters,” Davison said.
Van Hoek said students don’t realize how important the election is.
The student body president sits on the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) and has a chance to sit on the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), the body that oversees Florida’s 11 public universities.
Elections will be held March 2-5.