Sarasota residents came out in force on March 8th to elect three new city commissioners, and now that the dust has almost cleared—
Actually, that’s a bit of a fib. The dust hasn’t cleared. And not because the runoff vote in District 1 has yet to happen (it’s scheduled for May 10th), but because no dust was kicked up in the first place. Sarasota residents didn’t come out in force for the elections. In fact, they barely came at all.
The City of Sarasota has 32,019 registered voters. Of those, a mere 5693 cast a ballot. That’s an 18% turnout. No matter what scale of measurement you use, 18% is a failing mark. City commissioners make the decisions that most affect the daily lives of Sarasotans, and yet no candidate had as many as 1800 votes. Shannon Snyder won district 3, which includes Laurel Park, with 704. Only three precincts reached 30% voter turnout, while six were in single digits.
Here at Laurel Park Management, we’ve met so many passionate people, people who work hard to be good neighbors, good citizens. Who take pride in their neighborhood. Every time we walk outside we encounter one. So, why isn’t that passion translating into votes?
Any community, no matter the size, is only as great as its civic involvement. Sarasota is fortunate to have an extremely vocal and involved minority, but they remain just that: a minority. If the majority of residents don’t make their voices heard by at least choosing our representative leaders, how representative can our leaders be? And what right will we have to complain about the job they do (or don’t do)?