Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Turnout Looks Set to Beat 2013

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Turnout Looks Set to Beat 2013

Article excerpt

SARASOTA: Commission seats for Districts 2 and 3 are on the ballot today

SARASOTA -- Voter turnout in today's city election may be on pace to exceed expectations, according to early vote counts on Monday.

With absentee ballots and early voting, the city election appears to have drawn nearly 13 percent of registered voters, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said. Two City Commission seats are up for election, with three candidates running for each.

So far, at least 3,127 city residents have cast ballots by mail or in early voting. At this rate, Dent said, it's possible that when the polls close today, 20 percent of the city's registered voters will have participated.

"That would actually be good for a Sarasota city election," Dent said.

Voter turnout is typically poor in city elections here. It reached a new low in March 2013 at 17 percent.

Even those low figures cannot be compared with this year's races, Dent said. In 2013, the two seats up for election were at-large seats, drawing voters from across the city.

In this year's election, the contested seats are in Districts 2 and 3, and only voters in those districts will be able to participate. The City Commission includes three district seats and two at-large seats. There are a total of 24,844 registered voters in the two districts.

District 2 includes western portions of the city along the water. District 3 includes more neighborhoods in the eastern end of the city.

This year's city election begins with a first vote today and, if necessary, a runoff on May 12.

The polls are open on election day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

City commissioners serve four-year terms with a salary of about $26,000 per year.

Commissioners Eileen Normile and Stan Zimmerman, appointed in November, are running to win full terms on the board. Both were appointed to fill vacant seats left by former commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder, who had stepped down to run for county offices. …

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