OP/ED: More Elections On Horizon

639

By: Former Boca councilman Robert Weinroth Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

Bet you’re happy to have gotten through the most recent municipal election cycle. Changes in the composition of the Delray Beach City Commission and the Boca Raton City Council will have an impact on the residents of each city as the government bodies undergo the changes resulting from the changes.

With only five voting members, the change of just one member can have a profound impact inasmuch as most items addressed by these bodies will pass or fail on three votes.

Time will tell how these reconfigured bodies will begin to shift. However, Delray Beach has already seen the Commission take the decisive step of dismissing the appointed members of its CRA and following the lead of Boca Raton whereby the elected leaders will now do double duty on the Commission and as CRA board members.

The municipal election season may have concluded but candidates abound for the offices we will be voting on in August and November.

The August election (just 4 months off) doubles as a Primary and Judicial election. With potentially elections to select nine Circuit Judges and eight County Judge sitting within the 15th Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County) on the August ballot. Where no judicial candidate receives 50 percent +1 vote, the highest two candidates will appear on the November ballot in a run-off.

The November (General) election promises to be one that will test the voters’ mettle. In addition to a contest which will include incumbent Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson being challenged by Republican Governor Rick Scott, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Governor’s Cabinet (Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and State Commissioner of Agriculture) are all up for election with only the incumbent CFO, Jimmy Patronis, eligible to seek re-election (having been appointed to the unexpired term of former CFO Jeff Atwater, now a member of the team at Florida Atlantic University).

Going down the ballet, State Senator Bobby Powell (D-SD-30) is up for re-election and all State Representatives (including three open seats with Senator Abruzzo (D-HD-81) not running for re-election; term-limited Rep Bill Hager (R-HD-89) and HD-90, recently vacated by Senator Lori Berman in preparation for her winning campaign to replace former Senator Jeff Clemens.

The County Commission (open seats in District 2 and District 4 due to term limits), School Board and Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District will likely appear on both the August and November ballot.

All this will make for a long ballot but we aren’t through. In addition to several ballot questions coming from the state legislature and, possibly the county, the real headache for voters will result from the ballot questions generated by the Constitution Revision Commission.

The CRC process was created when Florida overhauled its constitution in 1968. The 37-member Commission is convened every 20 years and is empowered to submit proposed constitutional amendments directly to the voters.

The problem is there will likely be 17 ballot questions generated by the Commission. Voters may want consider requesting a Vote by Mail Ballot to avoid the anticipated long lines and to have ample time to read, digest and vote on the proposed amendments.

The proposed amendments must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than 180 days before the General Election on Nov. 6. To learn more about the process and the proposed amendments, go to www.PrtiectFLDemocracy.org.