When do I vote in 2020? A quick guide to Sarasota's districts, candidates, and key dates
Updated: Jul 9
Executive Summary: Two of three key County-wide races -- Sheriff and School Board -- will be decided in the August 18 Primary.
GOP Primary for Sheriff: All county voters participate regardless of party affiliation.
School Board elections are nonpartisan---All county voters participate.
Republicans in districts 1 & 5 (not 3) vote August 18 in County Commission primary.
ALL VOTERS vote in General Election Nov. 3.
Voting in the 2020 Primary and General Election
This year, voters in Sarasota go to the polls for the August Primary and the November General Election. This year’s Primary is extremely important. Two of the three key races -- Sheriff and School Board -- will be decided in the August 18 Primary:
Sheriff: All voters regardless of party affiliation or district have the opportunity to vote for Sheriff in the “Universal Primary” in August. The winner of this primary vote will be the next Sheriff of Sarasota County.
School Board: All voters regardless of party affiliation or School Board district will have the opportunity to vote for two School Board district candidates in the August Primary. The winners will become the School Board representatives for SB districts 2 and 3.
Board of Sarasota County Commissioners (BCC): Republican voters in BCC districts 1 and 5 will select district Republican candidates on August 18.
All voters regardless of affiliation in BCC districts 1, 3, and 5 will select their next district Commissioner in the General Election on November 3.
Sheriff - All Voters in All Districts Vote in August 18 Primary
In 2020 the Democratic party did not field a candidate for the office of Sheriff. The Republican party has two candidates: Kurt Hoffman and Paul Fern. (Sheriff Tom Knight is retiring.)
Having no Democrat in the race triggered a "Universal Primary" in which ALL voters -- Republican, Democrat and NPA/third/minor party -- will vote for Sheriff in the August 18 primary. (NPA means No Party Affiliation.)
School Board - All Voters in All Districts Vote in August 18 Primary
The Sarasota County School Board has five Nonpartisan/At-Large elected seats with staggered terms. Candidates for districts 2 and 3 run in 2020; districts 1, 4, and 5 do not run until 2022.
“Nonpartisan” means that there is no political party primary. Candidates for School Board do not have their party registration noted on the ballots.
If any School Board candidate wins 50%+ of the votes in the August 18th primary election, they will not have to advance to a run-off race on November 3rd.
That’s because each of the two school board district races in 2020 has only two candidates filed and qualified to run for election:
Final winners will be declared in the August 18 election. (There are no runoffs unless 3 or more candidates have filed to run in any one district race.)
“At-Large” means that ALL voters across all school board voting districts in Sarasota County vote in ALL of the active races.
Democrats, Republicans and NPAs in ALL five Sarasota County School Board districts vote on August 18 in the Nonpartisan/At-Large election for School Board Districts 2 and 3.
Board of County Commissioners (BCC) - Partisan/Single Member District Seats.
Republicans vote in three BCC district primaries on August 18.
All voters -- Democrats, Republicans and NPAs -- vote in the November 3 General Election.
BCC has five elected positions with staggered terms. Districts 1, 3, and 5 have races in 2020. Districts 2 and 4 will have BCC races in 2022.
“Partisan” means that the political parties can hold primaries for voters to decide which candidate to send to the General Election in November. This year, Sarasota Primaries will be held August 18.
“Single Member District Voting” means that ONLY voters who RESIDE in districts 1, 3 and 5 will vote for primary and general election candidates running in their OWN district. Voters of any party who reside in districts 2 and 4 do not vote for BCC candidates in 2020.
Because only one Democratic candidate for the BCC qualified in each of the three districts holding elections in 2020, (Districts 1, 3, and 5), Democrats do not vote in the August 18th BCC primary.
Democrats residing in Districts 1, 3, and 5 will vote for the BCC candidate of their choice in the General Election on November 3rd.
Each Democratic candidate will face his or her district’s Republican primary winner in November:
District 1: Mark Pienkos will face the Dist. 1 Republican primary winner.
District 5: Alice White will face the Dist. 5 Republican primary winner.
On August 18, Republicans in districts 1 and 5 will select a candidate to represent their district.
District 3: No Republican primary. Nancy Detert (inc) is the sole Dist. 3 Rep. candidate.
NPAs are not eligible to vote in the August 18 partisan BCC primary.
NPAs in districts 1 and 5 who wish to vote for a candidate in the Republican Primary can change their Supervisor of Elections voter record from NPA to Republican no later than July 20.
NPAs residing in districts 1, 3, and 5 will vote along with everyone else in the November 3 general BCC election.
Charter Review Board (CRB)
The Charter Review Board is an elected body of 10 members, two members from each of the five county commission districts, who serve staggered terms of four years. The Charter Review Board reviews and proposes changes to the Sarasota County Charter.
Members are elected countywide by the voters of Sarasota County at the General Election and take office on the second Tuesday following the General Election.
Candidates for the CRB are identified by district and by party or NPA status on the ballot. Candidates will be on the Primary ballot when there is more than one candidate representing a particular party for a specific district.
In 2020, Republican candidates face off in the Primary in Districts 1 and 2:
Charter Review Board, Dist. 1 Krista Lohr (DEM) Qualified
Charter Review Board (2-year term), Dist. 1 Alexandra Coe (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 1 Kennedy Legler (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board (2-year term), Dist. 1 Samantha Medred (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board (2-year term), Dist. 1 Walter L. Gilbert III (NPA) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 2 Doreen Dupont (DEM) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 2 Ray Collins (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 2 Joseph "Jody" Hudgins (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 2 Lourdes Ramirez (REP) Qualified
Charter Review Board, Dist. 2 Vic Rohe (REP) Qualified
As only one Democrat is running in each district, there is no Democratic CRB Primary.
ALL VOTERS vote for ALL CRB candidates in the General Election - November 3.