Decide the date

It’s Time To Empower Sarasota Voters To Decide The Date!

SARASOTA VOTERS deserve an opportunity to decide if they want to:

Increase voter turnout

Maximize community participation

Cut costs and save taxpayers money


Increase Voter Turnout

We’ll present 10 case studies that will show you how others have managed to make money.

Increase Citizen Participation

In just the City of Sarasota, 12,203 MORE city residents voted in the last November General Election (2016) than in the last City Eleciton in May (2017). More voters = more participation in government by those who pay for it!

Cut Costs & Save Taxdollars

The City of Sarasota unnecessarily spent over half a million dollars in the past 10 years and $104,862.44 in just 2015 on unnecessary off-year city elections!


filling out a petition is easy –

This is all that you need to do to help move the election:

  1. Download the petition (click on image on the left)
  2. Fill out the petition
  3. Send it to: Attention: DecideTheDate, 1945 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34236

Thank you for helping us empower Sarasota residents!

Request A Petition Pickup

Please fill out the form below and we will save you a stamp by picking up the petition from you!

Read Proposed Amendment Language

Proposed Amendment Language

Click here to read the proposed amendment to the Charter of the City of Sarasota

Frequently asked questions (faQS)

Who are we?

A local group of volunteers, business owners, and organizations formed to address the expensive and low voter turnout in the March special city elections. The special March City elections have produced low turnout and are expensive costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Why should voters be asked if they would like to move the City election date(s)?

During City elections, in the spring of odd-numbered years, voter turnout in the City of Sarasota is oftentimes below 20%. In the regular elections, it is two or three times higher.

Amongst all variables that effect voter turnout, it is the timing of elections that is the most significant.  This process would allow voters in the City of Sarasota to decide if they would like to move the city elections to the regularly scheduled elections.  The new election dates would coincide with when these voters are already voting for other issues and offices (e.g., County Commission, School Board, State Representative, etc.).

Why is the petition process necessary?

Repeatedly, a majority of the Sarasota City Commission has refused to allow voters to decide the date of the elections in a referendum. This leaves the petition process as the only method of allowing the voters to decide the date.

Can I sign a petition?

You must be registered to vote within the City of Sarasota. To find out if you are registered to vote, click here. If you aren’t registered to vote, it’s easy! Click here to register.

The City elections are nonpartisan, would aligning the election emphasize partisanship in local races?

This is a nonpartisan matter that has received broad community support from both political parties, individuals and organizations. The election date would also match two other major non-partisan elections for Judicial Office and School Board.

How does moving the election impact turnout?

Turnout numbers in the municipal elections are bleak, historically only drawing from 15 to 23 percent of registered voters within the city, as compared from 50 to 70 percent turnout in November.

The Sarasota City Commission has already placed crucial Charter Amendments on the regularly scheduled November elections – and voting on this was over 2 times more than the March elections!

Are there any recent examples locally where moving the election has improved turnout?

The City of Bradenton moved its election from odd number years to even number years in 2010. Turnout within the City of Bradenton in 2009 was 14 percent. After the elections were moved, turnout increased to 71 percent in 2012, 53 percent in 2014, and 66 percent in 2016.

How will moving the election impact turnout among various demographics within the community?

Turnout often doubles or triples among various demographics as proven in the 2016 November elections and 2017 May elections.

In May 2017, the voter composition among African Americans was 3.99 percent compared to 9.7 percent in November of 2016. The trend is also consistent for the Hispanic and young voters. Voter composition among Hispanics was 1.98 percent in May compared to 5.55 percent in November. Voter composition among voters 29 and younger nearly tripled in the November election with 3.79 percent of registered voters participating in 2017 compared to 10.86 percent in 2016.

Why does the City spend about $100,000 in election expenses to administer a separate election?

City elections must be held in March and May as dictated by the City Charter.  Because the current system requires additional processes, the City must pay extra for its elections.  For years, taxpayers have funded elections that provide less turnout for more money. Over the last decade, over a half million dollars have been spent to administer City elections.

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