Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D) was re-elected on Tuesday night to his fifth full term, in a city election where only 12.63 percent of eligible voters made it to the polls – according to unofficial results from the Orlando Supervisor of Elections.
Dyer is already the city’s longest-serving mayor and a favorite by many to retain his office. He was able to avoid a runoff election nearly 72 percent of the vote. His competition, City Commissioner and Orlando Police Department veteran Samuel B. Ings (D) and nonprofit business-woman Aretha Simons, received about 17.5% and 10.75% of the vote, respectively.
Voting may have also been difficult for Valencia and UCF students, many of whom live in unorganized areas of Orange County and are thus ineligible to vote in the City of Orlando’s elections or find themselves unable to make it to the polls due to work or school obligations.
Many still promoted the idea of voting and emphasized the importance of knowing who the candidates are.
Justin Ebanks, 27, a Valencia student, pushed the importance of voting and knowing who you are voting for.
“I believe that voting for your elected officials is very important in today’s environment due to the political atmosphere,” Ebanks said. “Do your research, don’t just vote for who other people are.”
The two main reasons students said they are not able to vote are lack of knowledge about voting times and locations, and the inability to make it to the polls before they close at 7 p.m. Many also noted that they are not knowledgeable about the candidates.
“I’m not really that informed to make a good enough decision,” Samantha Sukash, a 26-year-old UCF student, said. “But I do feel like it’s time for a change in Orlando.”
Gary Mendoza, a 23-year-old UCF student, made it to the polls.
“I am voting because I want to improve our future; I want to vote for the best candidate that will resolve issues in our day to day life.”
“I think voting, no matter what level [local or national], is your right so you might as well get out and do it,” Sam Stewart, 23, a student at UCF, said.
Although he can’t vote because of work conflicts, Stewart feels like everyone who can should every chance they can.