ARCHER – The City of Archer is taking steps to move the time of its municipal elections. With a 5-0 vote, commissioners agreed for the city attorney to draft an ordinance moving municipal elections to the spring.
During Monday’s city commission meeting, Mayor Frank Ogborn agreed that moving the city’s municipal elections would make national and state elections less overwhelming for voters.
Ogborn said he liked the idea when it was brought up during the Alachua County League of City meetings. He said that during the last election, because there were so many amendments voters had to read, Archer’s elections got “lost in the shuffle.”
“Voters don’t want to read all that stuff,” Ogborn said at the commission meeting. “I thought it was a good idea to move it to the spring.”
City Manager Al Grieshaber, Jr. said in an interview that moving the municipal elections to the spring would allow electors to concentrate on them.
“When they have national and state elections...it’s a voluminous amount of information to be digested in a short period of time and unless the electors have looked at sample ballots prior to entering the voting booth, it’s an overload of information.
Commissioners are legally authorized to make the change through a City ordinance. Assistant City Attorney Tasha Fernandez said during the meeting that according to Florida Statue 100.3605, there is no need for a voter referendum.
Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said Gainesville, Newberry, Alachua, Hawthorne and the towns of LaCrosse and Micanopy have their municipal elections during the spring. However, Waldo and High Springs still hold their elections in November.
Alachua and Newberry have their elections on the same day, April 9.
Carpenter said she is working with cities to have their municipal elections on the same day in the spring in order to have public awareness of their municipal voting day. This has been an on-going process for the last eight years.
“[It would] provide voters with another annual election day,” she said.
Archer is still in the process of drafting the ordinance so an election date has not been set, yet.
Grieshaber said in an interview that once the ordinance is drafted, which he hopes will be by March, a decision to pass the change of the election will be decided no later than June.
If the change is enacted, commission seats held by Gabe Green and Ogborn would be extended until spring 2015 instead of November 2014, Grieshaber said.
While commission terms are for four years, the positions of mayor and vice mayor, which will continue to be elected in January, last one year.
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