Midterm elections are in full swing as students start casting their votes Tuesday across all three campuses to elect their Student Government (SG) officials.
The SG midterm election is taking place Tuesday and Wednesday with virtual and in-person polling stations. The unofficial results will be announced Thursday.
The election will feature a vote of confidence to reaffirm Student Body President Julia Cunningham and Vice President Jillian Wilson in their positions. Since they took over as part of a selection of last resort May 10, the student body must vote “yes” or “no” to keep them in their roles.
If the majority of students don’t cast a “yes” vote to keep them in office, the Senate president will take over.
“The vote of confidence is to ensure that the student body wants to keep Julia and Jillian in,” Carr said. “They were elected in as the selection of last resort, which means they technically weren’t the student body’s first choice.”
Students will also vote to elect 26 Senators and 16 campus council members, of which four are for Tampa, eight for St. Pete and four for Sarasota-Manatee. In total, seven students are running for Senate in Sarasota-Manatee, 13 in St. Pete and 71 in Tampa.
Compared to past elections, this one is made up of a larger pool of students, according to SG Supervisor of Elections Savannah Carr. In fall 2020’s expedited midterm elections, SG received 85 applications, 74 of which were from Tampa, four from St. Pete and seven from Sarasota-Manatee.
Across all campuses, 93 students are running to fill 42 vacancies in this year’s midterm elections, Carr said.
To prepare for the vote of confidence, Cunningham and Wilson have been campaigning by posting the initiatives they have completed on social media and promoting some of the work they have been doing since they took office in May.
“We wanted to focus on transparency within our campaign, as we did back in March’s campaign, and let students know who they are voting in confidence for,” Wilson said. “We hope to have students vote confidently in us so we can continue to better our three campuses for all students.”
Students will need their USF ID if voting in-person, and their net ID and password for online voting. Once their ballots are cast online, they will receive a confirmation email.
Online voting will be an option in addition to in-person locations on the St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses.
“The St. Pete campus will have a station set up in front of the University Student Center,” Carr said. “The Sarasota-Manatee station, ‘referral stations’ as we are calling them, will be at the main entrance of the building.”
The Tampa campus won’t have an in-person polling station since it’s a larger campus and SG wants to avoid crowds, according to Carr. Students are still able to participate in the elections virtually.
Fliers were posted across all three campuses advertising the election, complete with a QR code students used to access virtual polling through their cell phones. With this method, Carr said SG worked toward making polling accessible to all while maintaining the health and safety of students.
Wilson emphasized the importance of students participating in elections, whether it is on campus or for local and federal government.
“Democratic engagement is hugely important, whether in the national election, local elections or USF Student Government elections,” Wilson said. “We want students to always use their voice and vote for what they believe in.”