Supervisor of Elections Approves Petition for Gainesville Votes!
Community Given 90 Days to Collect 7,463 Signatures to Move City Elections
Gainesville voters have until May 29 to place a referendum as early as the Fall, 2016 ballot that will move city commission elections from an annual spring process to the Fall of even years.
Earlier this week Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter approved petition language submitted by organizers from Gainesville Votes!, which started a 90-day clock for them to collect completed petitions from 7,463 registered Gainesville voters.
“We’ve been working on this, building support and laying the groundwork, for nearly two years,” said Gainesville Votes! spokesperson Harvey Ward. “We’re excited to take this to the voters for support. The idea is to move elections to the fall and keep them non-partisan. We believe this will increase voter turnout, save money and align Gainesville with other elections.”
If they are successful, the question will be put to voters on the ballot this November.
“We propose following the model successfully used by the Alachua County School Board: Non-partisan elections occurring in August (alongside county, state and federal primaries) of every even year. When a run-off is necessary, it would be held on the first Tuesday in November along with county, state and federal elections,” Ward said.
The city of Gainesville currently spends $230,000 each year for municipal spring elections, with a voter turnout consistently in the low teens. By contrast, the City of Tallahassee spends less than $90,000 every other year and has experienced voter turnout in excess of 70%.