Student Body President Julia Cunningham and Vice President Jillian Wilson are headed back to the polls as a vote of confidence (VOC) will take place to either secure or remove them from their positions after being elected to their roles in the spring semester as a selection of last resort.
With the VOC, students will vote either “yes” or “no” on whether they want to keep Cunningham and Wilson in their positions. Students will get to cast their vote on the midterm election ballot from Oct. 12 at 8 a.m. to Oct. 13 at 11:59 p.m.
Both Cunningham and Wilson took over their respective roles May 10 when the ticket that received the most votes in the general election was disqualified from the presidential race. They were found guilty of a major grievance for a social media giveaway that rewarded students with a $25 gift card if they tagged a friend, shared the post and followed their campaign Instagram account.
As stated in Statute 707.7.3, the student body president and vice president selected by last resort will be subjected to a VOC in the following midterm election.
No other candidates will be competing against them. If they aren’t selected to retain their roles, the Senate president is next in line to take over. SG Supervisor of Elections Savannah Carr said both candidates are beginning to campaign for themselves again in order to make a positive impression on USF students.
“They are essentially campaigning again. However, I use the term campaigning lightly,” Carr said. “They’re going to go out there, continue doing their work as vice president and president and keep doing their jobs. They will also go out and start mingling with students a little bit more to start their campaigns again.”
In order for both candidates to remain in their roles, they must receive a majority, or 51%, of “yes” votes from students, similar to most election standards.
While the president and vice president positions are a key result to watch in the election, they won’t be the only candidates students will be voting for on the ballot.
The midterm election ballot will allow students to vote for 42 open seats in SG campus council and Senate across all campuses, according to Carr. By the end, there will be 44 Senate seats in Tampa, nine in St. Pete, seven in Sarasota-Manatee and nine campus council representatives per campus.
Applications closed Sept. 17 as preparations are being made leading up to voting week. In total, Carr said 117 students applied at the Tampa campus, with 20 applications for campus council, 50 for Senate and 47 for both. For the St. Pete campus, 21 students applied with four applications for campus council, four for Senate and 13 for both. Seven students applied in total at Sarasota-Manatee, five for campus council, one for Senate and one for both.
In Tampa, students will only be able to vote online, but students at the St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses will be able to vote either online or at on-campus polling stations. If students vote in person, they will vote using their phones to minimize physical contact. Polling stations will be monitored so students only vote using one method.
With midterm elections quickly approaching, Carr said it’s important for students to vote as this is their chance to have their voices heard.
“It’s important that students go out there and vote because their voice matters,” Carr said. “If they have any sort of concern about Julia and Jillian, they have the right to vote and have the right to vote for who they want in the Senate and campus council as well. It’s very important that their voices are heard.”