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Sarasota City Commission election
Sarasota Thursday, Mar. 2, 2017 7 months ago

Election 2017: Sarasota City Commission voter guide

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With two seats on the City Commission up for grabs, the eight candidates in the race weigh in on the issues and make their case for your vote.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

Sarasota voters will head to the polls March 14 and cast their ballots in the race for two open City Commission seats, electing two people to the most important policy positions in the city.

Well, maybe. The March 14 vote may be less of an election and more of a winnowing: Eight people are running for the two citywide at-large seats on the commission, and a candidate must win at least 50% of the vote to win a seat this month. If no candidate breaks that mark, a runoff is scheduled for May.

Nevertheless, the stakes are high for this month’s election. The city appears positioned to make crucial decisions on a number of issues that will shape the long-term character of Sarasota. From new zoning regulations to homeless policy, from the redevelopment of the bayfront to traffic management, the City Commission will make big choices during the next four years.

We asked the eight candidates in the race for their thoughts on those issues. Follow the links to see why each candidate thinks voters should pick them to join the City Commission at such a pivotal time:

Make your pick

Because there are two open seats on the City Commission, voters will be allowed to vote for up to two candidates on election day. If there’s only one candidate you like, voting for one person is fine, too.

If no candidate wins a majority, the top three vote-getters will advance to the May 9 runoff. Again, voters will be allowed to vote for up to two candidates.

If only one person wins a majority on March 14, the candidates with the second- and third-most votes will advance to the May 9 election. In the runoff, voters will pick between those two candidates.

Key dates:

March 6 — Early voting begins. Voters can cast their ballots from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office.

March 11 — Last day for early voting.

March 14 — Election day. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find your polling place by visiting sarasotavotes.com.

April 10 — Voter registration deadline for runoff election, if necessary.

May 1 — Early voting begins for runoff election.

May 6 — Last day for early voting in runoff election.

May 9 — Runoff election day.

May 12 — Elected commissioners take office.

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