SG’s election is uncontested, what does that mean?

Mallory Pace and Carter Mudgett

For the past three semesters, University of North Florida Student Government (SG) elections one presidential and two senate electionshave been labeled as “uncontested,” but what does that mean? 

An election is considered uncontested when the number of candidates is the same or less than the number of seats open to be filled, so all candidates are guaranteed to be given a spot. 

What does an uncontested election look like this semester?

The 2022 Fall senator election is officially uncontested, meaning that all 19 students who signed up for a place in the Senate will automatically be elected without student’s voting on each candidate. 

“I feel like the thing that we have to work on is just communication,” Deputy Elections Commissioner Ali Sartawi told Spinnaker. “I feel that is the biggest challenge for us.”

[Updated Nov. 4: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that Student Government would begin their Spring 2023 semester with 18 senators total. A total of 19 senators are running in the Fall 2022 election. Spinnaker takes errors seriously and apologizes for the error. ]

The Unity Party has nine senators running in this election, including five returning members. The Soar Party has ten candidates, making a total of 19 potential new senators. 

Orange Soar Party logo
The Soar Party logo.

At the beginning of the election process, the candidate declaration of intent was initially due on Oct. 4, but was extended by two weeks, according to the UNF elections Instagram, which was the most recent post made about the election as of publication.

“It is the second year in a row we’re not going to have a contested election, sadly,” Sartawi said. “Next year we’re going to be pushing our best for it to be contested … That is important. That’s a priority.” 

A past of uncontested elections

Originally, the Fall 2021 senator election had two political parties with a total 22 students running for the 20 open Senate seats. Following withdrawals, the number of potential candidates dropped below 21, according to previous Spinnaker reporting

At the time, then-Deputy Elections Commissioner Alex Iannantuono told Spinnaker, “it’s not really that common to have contested [Fall] elections,” because interest is much higher in the Spring for presidential elections. 

The following semester, in Spring 2022, the UNF community saw SG’s presidential election. Then-Student Body President Selma Besirevic and vice-presidential candidate Jake Scott faced Unity Party candidates Nathaniel Rodefer and Joshua Murray. 

However, Besirevic dropped from the race, citing personal reasons, which left the Unity Party to claim victory before any votes were cast. 

The Unity Party logo.

The future

In the Spring 2023 semester, the deputy election commissioner said he is looking forward to a contested election. 

“Again, if you’re given something automatically, without having to do much for it, you’re obviously going to be maybe a little more complacent than if you had to earn that position,” Sartawi said. “And that’s a focus for us for the next couple of elections.”


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