How can you make your vote count?
Town Clerk Trish Granger recently outlined everything registered voters need to know about casting their ballots.
Ballots for the vote that could determine the Longboat Key Club’s future must be returned by 7 p.m. May 12.
How we got here
The vote is required as the result of 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Haworth’s 2012 ruling in favor of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC) in its lawsuit against the town. The suit challenged code changes the Longboat Key Town Commission approved to clarify a past $400 million proposed Key Club project.
The commission approved the project in June 2010, but 12th Judicial Circuit Court Charles Roberts quashed the application in December 2011 in a separate IPOC lawsuit against the town and Key Club.
That ruling required the town to hold a referendum before allowing any use other than residential within three zoning districts, including the one in which the Islandside property is located.
In December, the commission reached consensus to place the referendum question before voters in a mail-only ballot because many residents are out of town in May.
The Delray Beach-based corporation agreed to pay the entire bill for the referendum.
To date, Ocean Properties has paid for advertising requirements, ballot printing, postage for ballots and anything else the town or the supervisor of elections offices require.
So far, Ocean Properties has paid $14,318.55, and expenses will continue to rise as May 12 approaches and the company fulfills additional advertising requirements.
How to vote
For the all-mail election, ballots are sent April 26, or 20 days before the election as required by state statute. Voters have until 7 p.m. on Election Day, May 12, to return them. Ballots cannot be mailed to Longboat Key Town Hall or forwarded by any party to supervisor of election offices. Those living overseas and active-duty military, though, had ballots 45 days prior to the vote to give them additional time to return them.
“Ballot envelope postage was paid for by Ocean Properties,” Granger said. “All you have to do is vote and stick it in the mail.”
The town sent notices to all registered voters over the past few weeks reminding them about the referendum.
Check your address
Residents who have not updated their current address with the supervisor of elections offices in Manatee and Sarasota counties have until May 1 to do so. Residents can change their addresses at votemanatee.com for Manatee County residents and sarasotavotes.com for Sarasota County residents. Residents can also stop by Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road, and the Town Clerk’s Office can help residents change their addresses online. Address change forms are also available at the clerk’s office for those who wish to mail the forms.
Granger said she expects tallies from both election offices to be complete quickly at 7 p.m. May 12, when no more ballots will be accepted. “We should have results by 7:03 p.m. or so I would imagine,” Granger said.