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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Gainesville residents have until Monday to register to vote. For the fi rst time since the presidential election, Gainesville

residents can go to the polls to fi ll three, nonpartisan City Commission seats. The election on March 14 will include races for the District 2 seat, the District 3 seat and the At-Large District 2 seat, said Kim

A. Barton, Alachua County’s supervisor of elections. A city commissioner might do anything from voting on taxes, county services and programs, she said. This week, about 9,000 vote

by-mail ballots were sent out, but residents have until March 8 to request one, according to a Supervisor of Elections press release. To register, residents can visit the Supervisor of Elections Offi ce, located at 515 N. Main St., or

download the form at votealachua.com, Barton said. Applications can be dropped off or mailed in by Monday. She encouraged all residents to vote because decisions made on the local level impact people directly.

“I’m never going to walk into my grocery store and see my president,” Barton said. “But I will see my city commissioner.” Dani LeGrand, 19, said she grew up believing that local elections weren’t important, but said she now understands their significance. “Decisions are made by the people who show up,” said the UF political science sophomore who is interning for Sheryl Eddie, a District 2 candidate. Susan Bottcher, who has lived in Gainesville for over 40 years, served on the city commission from 2011 until 2014. She is now helping Harvey Ward Jr. with his run for the District 2 seat. “The likelihood that you’ll be able to talk to your local city commissioner or local official is much higher than a state or national official,” Bottcher said. Scott Austin, 23, is the campaign manager for Perry Clawson, the third candidate for the District 2 seat. “If you really want to be active, local elections are the best way to get involved,”

the UF telecommunication junior said. Austin said he believes Gainesville’s nonpartisan elections are essential so voters see candidates as people, not parties. “Republicans don’t haul trash. Democrats don’t repair roads,” he said. “People do.”

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