Panthers, it’s time to get out the vote!

SGA presidential debatePresidential candidate Way (left) and Casanova (right) listening to the guidelines of the debate before giving their opening statements. | Danette Heredia, PantherNOW

PantherNOW Editorial Board

Panthers, election season is here and it’s time to vote. No matter your major, year or general interest in politics, we at PantherNOW firmly stand by the sentiment that students need to vote. 

In 2023, then-elections commissioner Anna Meredith told PantherNOW that over 3,000 students voted in the 2023-24 elections. That was a massive increase from less than 1,000 the previous year. 

As much as we’re pleased to see more students voting, 3,000 students are only a fraction of the 50,000+ students who make up FIU. That means less than 10% of students are deciding who represents 100% of the student body. 

No matter how many students vote, the people in power represent every single student at this university. It is our responsibility to exercise our civic freedom to vote to make sure that we are represented by people who truly stand for us.

Not those chosen by a minority, not people just running to pad their resumes. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the candidates personally – when students let that get in the way, it becomes a popularity contest.

If you want true representation, get informed and get your vote out. 

This year, three students are running for senate positions, representing the College of Arts, Science and Education, as well as upper division. While they officially represent those areas, they are also part of the electoral slate for Young Democratic Socialists of America at FIU. 

While it’s an ongoing debate as to whether SGA should represent issues that don’t directly pertain to FIU’s routine functions, the point here is that these students care about issues that align with YDSA. They’ve decided to use student government as the platform to voice their concerns, address those issues and represent students in YDSA. 

Again, we’re not here to put a value judgment on that – but it’s undeniable that YDSA has made its mark on the senate chambers this year. This PantherNOW editorial board will certainly never forget “Ceasefire Now!”. Love them or hate them, students see that YDSA is there. 

Students in YDSA cared enough to vote, to put people in power that represented them. And it translated into very tangible action. 

PantherNOW doesn’t condone or condemn YDSA’s work, but we see their passion as being impactful and their persistence as translating to action through student government. 

The work that student government does represents the student body as a whole – whether you agree with that work or not. 

When you vote, you’re voting for the people who not only have a direct impact on your student experience but also for the people who shape FIU’s character and reputation, from international politics to homecoming. 

You may not have issues or causes that you think should be addressed through student government: but who you elect does. You get to decide who that is, and what those concerns are. 

Voting isn’t difficult; you can do it right from your couch. FIU’s voting portal is a click away on your laptop, phone or tablet. Shoot, use the Samsung Fridge if that’s what it takes. 

Whether you vote from your phone or you’re like us and geek out on the executive branch debates, you can do your civic duty and make your voice heard through who represents you. 

There’s something for everyone, including a vote. When you run into problems or things you think could be better at FIU (as you inevitably will), the people in office who can help fix things are dependent on who you’ve voted to put in there.

And if you haven’t voted on anyone at all, you’re likely not going to have someone representing you. 

An apathetic student body tends to have apathetic representatives.

That’s not to say our student government hasn’t done good work – these past two semesters have shown an incredible growth of passion from SGA compared to previous years. However, our candidates are keenly aware of who’s voting.

If they think no one is watching or cares, it’s easy to act like that in student government. From our less passionate senators, this was pretty clear with the attendance record

This election season, show candidates that you care, that you’re watching and that students want accountability and action from the people they put in power.

Get involved, get informed and most importantly, Panthers: go vote!

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