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The Award Winning & Best News on Anna Maria Island, FL Since 1992

"The Award Winning & Best News on Anna Maria Island, FL Since 1992"

Monday, Nov, 19, 2018
Florida Press Assn. Award-Winning Web Site
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Fewer voters for November elections
Fewer voters for November elections

There are fewer and fewer people registering to vote each year on Anna Maria Island, an indication the Island is losing some of its permanent population.

Candidate forums for each Island city Oct. 18
The Islander newspaper is introducing a new format this year for political candidates in all three Island cities to meet with voters, discuss issues and answer questions.

Instead of the old question-and-answer forum of prior years, The Islander, in an effort to enliven discussion and promote more debate on important topics, will host a series of editorial roundtable discussions among the candidates and Islander staff.

The roundtable schedule Oct. 18 is:
ºAnna Maria, Anna Maria City Hall, 9 a.m.
ºBradenton Beach, Bradenton Beach City Hall, 10:30 a.m.
ºHolmes Beach, West Manatee Fire & Rescue District Station No. 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 1:30 p.m.

The candidates have been invited and the public is urged to attend.

In Anna Maria, three city commission seats are up for election. The candidates include incumbent John Quam along with Carol Ann Magill, Jeff Smith, Randall Stover and Dale Woodland.

Three city commission seats are also up for election in Holmes Beach, with political newcomer Pat Morton vying with incumbents Rich Bohnenberger, Pay Geyer and Don Maloney.

In Bradenton Beach, Mayor John Chappie faces current City Commissioners Dawn Baker and Bill Arnold in the race for that office.

For city commissioner, Rick Bisio and John Shaughnessy are the candidates in Ward I, while Tricia Otto and Lisa Marie Phillips oppose each other in Ward 2.

Incumbent Scott Barr faces Peter Barreda in the race for Ward 3 city commissioner.

And with an average voter turnout of around 40 percent in the most recent elections in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach, some of the election results in those two cities this November could well be decided by just a few votes.

Bradenton Beach had just 898 registered voters as of Oct. 6, the deadline for registration for the November city elections, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office.

That's a decline of 12.8 percent from the 1,030 voters the city had registered for its 2002 election and an astounding 21 percent from the 1,136 voters registered in November 2000.

With five candidates vying for the two available seats on the city commission, and four candidates for the mayor's position, only a few people in the city are left to vote, and even fewer may show up on Nov. 4 to cast a ballot.

Considering the voter turnout in Bradenton Beach in 2001 was just 42.9 percent (416 voters), any of the three races in that city could easily be decided by a few votes, or lack thereof.

In Anna Maria, the five candidates seeking one of the three city commission seats up for election also face the same problem of fewer voters and the potential for a low voter turnout.

According to the latest figures from the elections office, Anna Maria has only 1,430 voters registered for its November election, a decline of 11.5 percent from the 1,615 registered in February 2001.

Just 34.9 percent (529) of the city's registered voters turned out to vote in the city's February 2003 election.

The four candidates seeking the three city commission seats up for grabs in Holmes Beach this November also face a lower number of registered voters than in previous years.

The elections office reported that on Oct. 6, Holmes Beach had 3,324 registered voters, a drop of 7.6 percent from the 3,599 registered in November 2002 and a 15.4 percent decline from the 3,928 registered for the November 2000 election.

But voter turnout in Holmes Beach does not appear to be as low as in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach.

For the November 2000 Holmes Beach election, 67.7 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots, according to the elections office.

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