Group Sues City Over Election Plan

The honorable Nikki Clark is the judge selected to hear the case this Wednesday. The Citizens for Consolidated Elections want to see the city elections take place with all the other elections in the fall, like the ones coming up this year. The city says ‘ok, let's have the citizens vote on it.’ The problem now is with the wording of the ballot.

The Citizens for Consolidated Elections are potentially one step closer to getting the city elections moved from the winter to November along with state and national elections.

They say this way more people will be voting.

"If you look at the statistics for a City elections, the turn out is dismal. The turn out during a state of governor's race is so much higher," says Jim English, City of Tallahassee Attorney.

During the March presidential primary, there will be a special election on the ballot for city voters to make that decision, but the Citizens for Consolidated Elections say they don't like the language the city has chosen, and will now fight it in court.

"What we are required to do by law is prepare ballot language. The petition doesn't go on the ballot. The statute says we have to prepare ballot language and give it to the supervisor and that's exactly what we have done," says Jim English.

Another reason the November election appeals to the citizens.

Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections, says” "The Citizens for Consolidated Elections want to have the elections in the fall. The cost for an election would be about $3000 for paper ads. If it's a stand alone election, in let's say February, for two separate stand alone elections, then the cost is about $279,000.

Comparing the ballot language the city used versus the citizens, the only real difference is the date. If passed, the citizens want the city elections to start taking place this fall; the city wants it to start in 2006.

It would impact the seats held by Andrew Gillum and Mark Mustian. If the city wins, it would extend their terms for almost two years. If the citizens win, it would shorten their terms by nearly three months.