57% of county voters support keeping Single-Member Districts voting method for county commissioners
For the second time in three-and-a-half years, the majority of Sarasota County voters showed their support for the Single-Member Districts voting system for county commissioners.
During a March 8 Special Election approved by the commissioners in December 2021, 57.22% of the 99,391 citizens who cast ballots in the referendum opposed the board members’ attempt to switch back to countywide elections, based on the unofficial results.
During the November 2018 General Election, nearly 60% of citizens who voted on the Single-Member Districts county Charter amendment supported it.
Placed on the 2018 ballot by a nonprofit organization called Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE), the system allows only voters who reside in the same district as candidates for the commission to vote for those candidates.
Kindra Muntz, president of SAFE, has stressed that campaigning for a County Commission seat countywide is prohibitively expensive for most individuals.
In a March 8 email blast, as voting was underway, Muntz pointed out, “[W]hen Commissioners are elected countywide, they make policy that particularly benefits a small group — the developers, who bankroll their elections. With countywide elections, no principled candidate — Republican, Democrat or NPA [no party affiliation] — NOT beholden to developers can hope to win. With single member districts, Commissioners are elected by the voters in their district and represent their district as they serve with others for the good of the county.”