Last week, the Sarasota County Charter Review Board took a good first step toward supporting the will of the voters in the effort to reduce the impact of big money in Sarasota County politics.
The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) applauds this move by the Charter Review Board to refuse to support the county commissioners in their effort to overturn the new electoral system put in place in 2018. A large majority of Sarasota County voters passed a referendum in that year that established the new system, referred to as single-member district representation. Under this system, each commissioner is elected by the voters in his or her own districtsimilar to how representatives to Congress are elected across the United States.
Before that change in 2018, Sarasota commissioners had to be elected by voters throughout the county. As a result, most county commissioners were elected in expensive races in which large real-estate developers played an outsized role.
The unanimous vote by the Charter Review Board last week means that the system in which voters in each of the county’s five districts elect their own commissioner will remain in place, at least for the present.
“We believe that the single-member district system makes it much more likely that commissioners will pay attention to the needs and concerns of ordinary citizens,” said DeVries. “The new system also expands the opportunities for grassroots candidates to get elected. The voters figured all this out in 2018 and know that their voices are much more likely to be heard when they vote under the new system.”