Island voter turnout expected to be low

Based on previous voter turnout in municipal elections, polling officials at Anna Maria Island precincts can expect 30-50 percent of the electorate to cast a ballot Nov. 5.

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, Anna Maria had 1,317 registered voters in 2011, with 625 casting ballots. That’s a voter turnout of 47.6 percent, the elections office said.

That same year, there were 952 registered voters in Bradenton Beach, but no election was held as the incumbents were unopposed and returned to office.

In the 2011 election, Holmes Beach had 3,247 registered voters with 984, or 30.3 percent, voting at the polls.

There were no state or national offices up for election that year, and voter turnout in those odd-year elections was anywhere from 30-50 percent, the elections office said.

For state and national elections in even years, voter turnout is much heavier, the elections office said.

In the 2012 polling, Anna Maria had 1,323 registered voters, with 1,073 or 81.1 percent voting.

Bradenton Beach had 949 registered voters for the 2012 election with 654 casting a ballot — a turnout of 68.9 percent.

Holmes Beach had 3,323 voters for the 2012 election and a 2,578 turnout — 77.6 percent.

With no state or federal candidates up for election on Nov. 5, the elections office said a voter turnout above 35 percent in any precinct would be good.

In Anna Maria, four candidates are competing for three city commission seats — incumbent Commissioner Dale Woodland and recently appointed Commissioner Doug Copeland, along with political newcomers Carol Carter and Michael Jaworski.

According to the SOE website, candidate filing reports due Sept. 27 show Copeland and Jaworski were granted waivers by the office for listing campaign contributions or spending. The waiver is granted for “undue burden,” according to Sharon Steif of the elections office.

Supervisor Mike Bennett said last week that in the case of Anna Maria, the undue-burden waiver can be granted, or the candidate can provide a petition of signatures in place of the filing fee.

Woodland listed a $700 contribution from himself for his campaign, with $48.32 spent on the filing fee.

Carter gave her campaign $600. She had spent $48.32 on the filing fee and $399.68 on political signs for her campaign.

Anna Maria commissioners are elected for a two-year term and paid $400 per month.

The next filing date for campaign expenditures by candidates is Oct. 12, with those results and cumulative totals available about 4-5 days after filing, the elections office said.

Absentee ballots for the Nov. 5 election are available from the Manatee County Supervisors of Elections Office, 601 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton, until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30.


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