Sarasota County voters head to the polls Tuesday

More than 100,00 mail-in ballots are going in the mail in advance of the March 8 referendum.
More than 100,00 mail-in ballots are going in the mail in advance of the March 8 referendum.(Sarasota County)
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 12:12 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County voters go to the polls Tuesday to vote on two important referendum questions, dealing with school funding and changing the way county commissioners are elected.

Question 1 asks voters if the county should continue continue the one mill per year property tax to support schools. The $1 on every $1,000 of assessed property value adds more than $70 million to the Sarasota County School District’s budget and helps pay for recruiting and retaining teachers, educational programs, textbooks, technology and other resources.

Voters have renewed the tax several times. The county’s Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County, have recommended voters vote “yes” to retain the tax.

Question 2 on Tuesday’s ballot asks voters to approve a change in the way county commissioners are elected. A “yes” vote will allow voters to vote for any commissioner, regardless on what district they may live in -- or which district that commissioner would represent.

This would reverse a 2018 referendum decision, when 60% of voters approved the current system, that only allows citizens to cast ballots for a single county commissioner from the district in which the voter resides.

Sarasota County Commissioners voted 6-0 in December to put this question on the ballot, despite a unfavorable recommendation by the county’s Charter Review Board.

Commissioners, all Republicans, said the current system disenfranchises voters by not allowing them to vote every election year, and then for only one seat.

Those opposed to the change charge the move is an attempt to keep the commission under GOP control. A Democrat has not served on the commission in more than 50 years.

The county’s Democratic party, along with the League of Women Voters, has recommended voters vote “no” on question 2.

Florida law requires voters to present current and valid photo and signature identification prior to voting. Acceptable IDs include the following:

  • Florida driver license
  • Florida ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • U.S. passport
  • Debit or credit card
  • Military ID
  • Student ID
  • Retirement center ID
  • Neighborhood association ID
  • Public assistance ID
  • Veteran health ID issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • License to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to s.790.06 F.S.
  • Employee ID issued by any branch, department, or agency of the federal government, state, a county or a municipality

A sample ballot can be seen here.

For more information, contact the elections office at 941-861-8619 or visit

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