Voices & Choices

Only thing keeping Sarasota from a RCV election is state-certified voting software… and it’s coming

Only thing keeping Sarasota from a RCV election is state-certified voting software… and it’s coming

More than a decade ago, voters in Sarasota, Fla. overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative approving the implementation of ranked choice voting with 77.6 percent supporting the measure. It was seen as a remedy to avoid runoff elections, save taxpayer money and reduce negative campaigning.

The Sarasota City Commission is revisiting the topic. The only hold up from the city conducting RCV elections now is the state certified software. Ron Turner, county supervisor of elections, said he expects the county’s voting system vendor, Election Systems & Software, will have the software available to tabulate a RCV election sometime this year, and he’s open to using RCV when it becomes available.

“Once the software becomes available and certified (by the state) and we can legally conduct the election, we are certainly happy to conduct that type of election,” he said.

At its meeting last week, the city commission requested Turner and the state to gather more information on RCV and its costs or savings. Proponents of RCV like the voting system for a number of reasons, including ensuring that every vote actually counts and it how it gives voters more choices and a greater voice in electing candidates to office. Watch this space for the next update.

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