Petition for Countywide Voting Approved

Finally making it on the ballot, area voters will have a new issue to consider come November.

Suwannee County resident Paul Mercer will finally have his request put on the November election ballot. He wants to change single-member voting to countywide voting. The change means residents would be able to vote for any county commissioner in any district.

Patricia Stephens, a registered voter in Suwannee County, said, "It wouldn't be fair for me to vote for somebody else to be their leader in another district, as long as I didn't live in that district. I'm a little concerned about that."

Failing in the past to get a unanimous vote from the commission to have the issue put on the ballot, Mercer and his group, “A Committee For a Better Suwannee County,” have gotten more than the needed 2,320 petition signatures to get it put on the ballot anyway.
He says single-member elections allow unfair taxes on selective groups. Others say it's countywide voting that's unfair.

Samuel Beasley, local NAACP President, said, "I think it's an issue that some people just don't want certain people to be representatives. You have people that are against Mr. Udell being on the county commission. If it were countywide voting, it would be like it was when it was countywide voting before. There wouldn't be any minorities on these boards."

The supervisor of elections says Mercer's process of getting the issue on the ballot was done fair and square and the rest is now up to voters to decide. Lafayette County just changed from single to countywide elections.