Sarasota News Leader

04/05/2013

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IN PURSUIT OF MAJOR CHANGE The Sarasota County Commission sits in session in March. File photo IS THE FUTURE OF COUNTY POLITICS NONPARTISAN? By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Take party politics out of county politics? One example: the use of fake write-in candiThat's what one activist group would like to dates to close primary elections that would do, and its members are organizing now to otherwise be open to members of all parties. bring the issue to voters before the 2014 cycle. During last year's Republican supervisor of Last year, community activists in the Public elections primary, Longboat Key's Victoria Interest Coalition, made up of representatives Brill filed paperwork to run as a write-in for from groups such as the Council of Neigh- supervisor of elections, although she intended borhood Associations, the Audubon Society to have no genuine role in the race. The move and the Sierra Club, came together to discuss blocked more than 150,000 Democrats and Inthe state of county elections. Bill Zoller, the dependents from being able to vote in the Represident of Citizens for Sensible Growth in publican primary between Jon Thaxton and Sarasota County, says Kathy Dent, depriving there was real outrage a majority of county We're all victimized by the way residents from having about tactics and loopholes that were pre- things are going. a say in who their suventing large segments pervisor of elections Gayle Reynolds Member of the population from is. Only 7.8 percent of Public Interest Coalition participating. county voters cast a

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