Orange County will appeal to the state Supreme Court in its legal fight with its sheriff, property appraiser and tax collector over nonpartisan elections. The move revealed Monday is the latest in the years-long battle stemming from two countywide votes in 2014 and 2016 on whether elections for six constitutional offices, including comptroller, clerk of the circuit court and elections supervisor, should no longer be partisan. Sheriff Jerry Demings, Property Appraiser Rick Singh and Tax Collector Scott Randolph, all Democrats, sued to overturn the amendments, claiming they violated state law. A circuit court judge agreed and rejected the idea of nonpartisan elections, a ruling upheld by the 5th District Court of Appeal in December.
A group of Democrats introduced legislation Thursday to overhaul and streamline the way the nation’s 435 U.S. House districts are redrawn every decade to reflect population shifts determined by the U.S. Census. “What we see now is too often a troubling reality in which politicians choose their voters instead of voters picking their elected officials,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a lead sponsor of legislation she says would create “a more transparent electoral process.”
A group of concerned citizens has a question for Sarasota County voters: How would you like your local elections — partisan or nonpartisan? The group, Open Our Elections, is launching a petition drive aimed at amending the Sarasota County Charter to provide for nonpartisan elections for all elected county offices, including the County Commission. Open Our Elections’ goal is to gather nearly 14,000 signatures of registered county voters, enough to have the question put to voters in a special election and, if approved, have a nonpartisan provision in place for the November 2014 general election.
Nonpartisan elections moved a step closer Tuesday when the Georgia House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved them for several local offices. The House lawmakers approved four bills that included nonpartisan elections for the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County governments, the Bibb County Board of Elections and the Macon Water Authority. They also included the coroner, Probate Judge, Civil Court Judge and State Court Solicitor. The legislation now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for consideration. If he signs them into law, they’ll head to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will determine if the law complies with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Two weeks ago, the Senate approved nonpartisan elections for those positions. In both chambers, Republicans largely supported the measures while Democrats opposed them.