Mixed reactions after re-election
UCF community weighs in on election results
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 14:11
On Nov. 6, Americans turned out to vote on Election Day 2012, and UCF students have mixed reactions concerning the results.
According to unofficial data released by the Florida Division of Elections, President Barack Obama led Florida by a narrow margin of 0.57 percent among the state electorate.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson coasted through his re-election more than one million votes ahead of Republican candidate Connie Mack.
Of Orange County’s five state Senate seats, three were filled by Republicans.
Of Orange County’s five open House of Representatives seats, three were filled by a Republican candidate, while one of the five state representative seats was won by a Republican.
Nationally, the Democrats hold the Senate while the Republicans maintain control of the House in Washington D.C.
“I don’t understand that,” said freshman business management major Stephen Jackson II. He was “ecstatic” that Obama won, but dismayed by the divided Congress.
Other students shared his enthusiasm for four more years under the Obama administration.
“I thought Romney was gonna win,” said freshman Dillon Marcelin, a psychology major and Obama supporter. For Marcelin, an Obama victory was possible, but not at first probable.
He said he thought people voted for the incumbent because “they were already used to him … people wanted to be comfortable.”
Kaiyah Ambrose, a junior biology major, disagreed.
“Honestly, I was disappointed,” Ambrose said. “After four years and nothing had improved, I don’t know why so many people would want four more years of the same thing.”
In Florida House District 49, UCF’s representative district, Democratic Rep. Joe Saunders was elected.
For many students, the most pressing part of the election process this year was dealing with the amendments presented on the ballot.
Amendment 6: Prohibition on Public Funding for Abortions, which would have banned state spending on abortions or health benefits coverage that included abortions except in the case of rape, incest and medical emergencies lost by about 10 percent in the polls.
For Jonathan Alingu, a senior economics major and president of the Student Labor Action Project, this was a major victory.
“I felt that it would have set a precedent if that had passed. That women were not allowed to regulate their own bodies … what would that mean for the future?” Alingu said.
He said this type of legislation would present a slippery slope in the future for more government involvement in personal choices.
SLAP spent a lot of time educating students on the amendments and their impact.
The Student Government Association did so as well.
Utilizing a tool called TurboVote, SGA was able to sign up 1,832 students for services such as voter registration, registration updates and absentee ballots.
Its website also gave descriptions and the potential impact of each amendment.
Amendment 12: Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors received special attention.
“We filed an official stance encouraging students to vote no on [Amendment 12] … our role was to take a stance,” said Cynthia Florentino, SGA legislative affairs coordinator and a junior political science major.
“I voted no to that, too, simply because the way I was reading it … it was really undemocratic,” said Alingu of the amendment’s proposal to take the right to choose a student representative from the students and give it to the governor. “No matter who the governor is … it is not in the best interest of the students.”
But some major news happened outside of Florida.
Of the 52 available Senate seats, 20 of them will be held by women – the most ever in U.S. history.
Also, for the first time in U.S. history, an openly gay senator, Democratic Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, has been elected into office. Along the same line, Maine and Maryland have made history as the first states to legalize gay marriage by popular vote, while Minnesota voters struck down the amendment to ban gay marriage.
“It’s definitely a landmark that Tammy Baldwin was voted as the first openly gay senator, and UCF alum Joe Saunders elected as one of the first openly gay Florida state legislators is a really momentous occasion as well,” said David Moran, graduate coordinator of LGBTQ Services.
In addition, Washington and Colorado have legalized medical marijuana by popular vote.
The opinions of UCF students are varied, but most are talking about how memorable it is that people are discussing and voting.