Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole explores moving city elections to November

SEMINOLE — In two weeks, voters here will go to the polls to choose two council members, but the city's March elections could become a thing of the past.

Seminole council members have asked the newly formed charter review committee to consider recommending that municipal elections be held in November. The goal would be twofold: increase turnout and decrease costs.

Charter review members tabled the idea last week, but only long enough to give city staff members time to collect data comparing March and November elections.

Seminole has $20,000 set aside for the March 10 election, but it's unclear how much of that might be spent, said Mark Ely, the city's development director.

But Nancy Whitlock, spokeswoman for Pinellas County Elections Commissioner Deborah Clark, says cities can save a lot of money by piggybacking onto countywide elections. When a city hires Clark to run a race, there is a fee of 40 cents per registered voter (Seminole has about 13,500 voters, so the fee would be more than $5,000), plus the cost of mail ballot kits, fees for polling places and salaries for poll workers. If, however, there's already a countywide race, none of those charges are passed on to the city.

"We have to do the election anyway, so we don't charge for that," Whitlock said. "So they do save quite a bit."

As for turnout, 72.5 percent of voters across Pinellas turned out in November, but it was a presidential election year. In 2006, with federal candidates on the ballot, but no presidential race, the turnout was smaller — 47.7 percent countywide. The results were similar in the city of Seminole: 72.5 percent turned out during November's presidential election, but only 51.8 percent turned out to vote in November 2006.

Still, that's much better than the 9 percent turnout in the March 2008 Seminole municipal election or the 19.7 percent turnout in March 2007.

Ely said Largo recently moved its elections to November and has seen a pretty good turnout since then. In November, for example, 61 percent of the voters cast ballots in the one municipal race.

But those who question such a move wonder about municipal issues and candidates getting lost in the uproar of presidential and races for higher office, which garner more media and voter attention. Holding municipal elections at a special time of year, they say, means the attention is solely on the municipal candidates and issues.

But proponents of the move point out that voters in November are more likely both to pay attention to the fact that there is an election and to be able to take the time to vote. And more voter participation, they say, is a good thing.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at (727) 893-8450 or

Seminole explores moving city elections to November 02/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]