Don't vote here

Get out the vote, or get the voters out?

A proposal is in the offing to reduce the number of voting precincts

by half, in order to save money and work. The logic seems to be that fewer and fewer voters go to the polls on election day, so why bother?

It would save even more money and work if we just shut down all the polls and let the votes fall where they may.

The daily newspaper even endorses this mistake.

The outcome is likely to be even lower turnout and reduced participation in local government, which is the precise opposite of what our elected representatives should seek. Engaging citizens at the level of government that lives closest to them is the founding principal of democracy. National politics - where actual voters have little impact - are almost meaningless in comparison.

In Lakeland, a few thousand of us can steer the city and prompt the progress that we see as best for us. More would be better. Fewer will be worse.

Many voters choose election day voting as a cherished right, long denied them by powerful interests who prefer small, reliable voting blocs. Many choose election day voting to avoid the pitfall of voting early (or by mail) and watching their candidate disappoint them at the last minute.

The widespread failure of the national parties is one reason our city commissioners are elected as non-partisans and all citizens can vote for all of them. The fact that so few of us do is a disgrace and we must own that failure ourselves. But the city’s idea will make it more likely that even fewer of us will bother.

And now we have a perfect moment to confirm it. Contact the commissioners and register your view. Let them count the “votes” and help them decide. This is our role. Our privilege. Our duty.

Otherwise, don’t bother complaining when things don’t go your way.

E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad Mcleod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Shawn Sherouse  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell