Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Single-district voting in Sarasota County - Mail-in Petitions

The following was shared by a county resident who believes PAC funding and corporate interests are distorting local electoral politics:

The Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) has launched a charter amendment petition that would change how we elect Sarasota County Commissioners and Charter Review Board members.

Currently these positions are broken down by districts, however they run “at large” which means that if you want to represent District 2, you need to get the majority vote of the whole county because everyone in the county votes for all districts. The petition would change that so they are “single” districts and only those within the district can elect that position.

Why is this a good thing?

This has potential to get non-politically connected people elected to office. It is very costly for someone unknown to run county-wide. Elections for county positions can cost $50,000 and up. If a newcomer only has to canvas the district they will be representing, it will be less costly. Let’s face it, we are up against PAC money from large corporate interests. It is almost impossible for anyone outside the club to either raise funds needed to run or canvass the entire county.

What the opposition says:

The opposing view is that the County Commissioner will be voting and deciding on issues that affect all residents and that is why they believe all residents should have a say and be able to vote for them. That is ridiculous. We vote by district for representation in Congress. Congress decides on things that affect all Floridians. How would you feel if everyone in the state got to vote for your congressional district representative? All County Commissioners take an oath to uphold our charter and the state and US constitutions. It makes little sense to have districts if someone could get elected as a district representative without ONE vote from the district they represent – which can happen under “at large” elections.

If you support this change:

Please print out the two petitions at the link below, fill them out and mail them in. Also, please circulate to your friends and neighbors. They need 17,000 signatures. It is not impossible, if we all help out. Please understand that if they get enough signatures, then this issue will be placed on the ballot for the entire county electorate to vote on at a later date.



  1. Thanks for this excellent blog and thanks to all concerned voters who print out the petitions above and mail them in. Our SAFE website is outdated beyond repair and being rebuilt to support the charter amendment campaign and ongoing efforts for democracy. Contributions of all size are welcome and most appreciated at http://keepdemocracysafe.org/give-now/

  2. Thank you, Kindra for all you do. By the way, is there an obligatory deadline for the single district petition that we have to meet?