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Friday, September 30, 2022

Gainesville residents might have to wait a little longer to find out the day they are supposed to vote for their future leadership.

There has been talk of the city hosting its spring elections in conjunction with the Florida presidential primary, which is slated to take place Jan. 31. Doing this, proponents say, would save the city money and lead to a higher voter turnout for city elections, which have been dismal in recent years.

In a recent city commission meeting, Elizabeth Waratuke, an assistant city attorney, said having the city election with the presidential primaries could lead to a reduction as high as $200,000.

According to the city's current ordinance, a date for the city election must be selected by July 1.

However, one of the provisions in the election bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott last week may hinder the selection of that date.

Normally, the date selection for the presidential preference primaries in Florida is decided by the legislative during the legislative session, but the bill stated that the date will now be decided by a selected committee.

The committee has until Oct. 1 to make a decision.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said in a recent interview that the city could wait until the state decided on a date to make its decision.

"We are having an election whenever the state says we are having one," she said. "If the city chooses to piggyback, they will need to have their information in to us in a time frame that will allow us to go to print with our ballot."

A shorter time period, Carpenter said, will tighten the time line to reserve polling locations and train poll workers, which could potentially increase the overall election budget.

Despite Tallahassee formalities, the City Commission has unanimously passed an ordinance that puts the election date on Jan. 31.

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