Keep Democracy SAFE

Talking Points

 

Why change how we elect County Commissioners in Sarasota County?

 

We have outgrown County-Wide Elections

  • There  are now almost 300,000 voters in Sarasota County and we are growing rapidly. 
  • Election as a County Commissioner in a Presidential Election year requires approximately 100,000 Votes
  • Even unpaid Charter Review Board Members need almost 100,000 votes to win, so they historically don't even bother to campaign and hope that they will be elected on straight party line vote.
  • The cost to run a campaign county-wide addressing 100,000 or more voters is staggering and requires that candidates raise huge sums of money.  With campaign contributions limited to $200/individual or corporation, PACs whose contributors need not be disclosed have become all too common.
  • When untraceable PAC money enters our election process the likelihood that moneyed interests will control our elections and that elected officials will be beholden to those moneyed interests is extremely high. 


We are not the only ones.  Most large counties have moved away from County-Wide Election in whole or in part, the largest in whole, for example:

  • Broward County - 9 Commissioners, All Single Member
  • Miami-Dade County - 13 Commissioners, All Single Member
  • Palm Beach County - 7 Commissioners, All Single Member
  • Orange County  - 7 Commissioners, 6 Single Member, 1 (Mayor) County-Wide
  • Hillsborough County - 7 Commissions, 4 Single Member, 3 County-Wide
  • Pinellas County - 7 Commissioners, 4 Single Member, 3 County-Wide
  • Manatee County - 7 Commissioners, 5 Single Member, 2 County-Wide
  • Leon County - 7 Commissioners, 5 Single Member, 2 County-Wide

 

  Single-member districts are more democratic and more representative

  • When a candidate can win an election with 20,000 votes vs 100,000 votes it creates incentive for grass roots candidates who are not wealthy or well connected to run for office.
  • Grass Roots candidates typically represent the issues, like responsible growth, that establishment candidates who are beholden to large moneyed interests like real estate developers do not.
  • Candidates elected exclusively by voters in their districts are likely to vote for the interests of the voters in their district.  Just ask any South Sarasota County resident if they feel that the County Commission treats them as an equal to the city of Sarasota or Longboat Key?