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BEATING BACK 'DIRTY TRICKS' A new political action committee wants to make county races nonpartisan. File photo EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NON-PARTISAN COUNTY ELECTIONS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor The campaign to make all countywide races nonpartisan became official this week, with the launch of Open Our Elections, a new PAC dedicated to promoting the cause and placing the issue on the ballot. Intended to beat back some of "the recent manipulations, abuses and dirty tricks" employed by local political parties, the effort has already found "broad support," according to Open Our Elections chairwoman and former Venice City Councilwoman Sue Long. going to explore in this comprehensive guide to the movement. Strap on your seatbelts ... it's "explainer" time! What is Open Our Elections? Open Our Elections is a newly formed political action committee (PAC) dedicated to putting the issue of nonpartisan county elections in front of voters. An outgrowth of the Public Interest Coalition, which is made up of groups such as the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, the Audubon But how would it work? And how would it Society and the Sierra Club, Open Our Elecaffect the political process? That's what we're tions is led by Long. Its treasurer is Bill Zoller,

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