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Proposal Moves Orlando Elections To November

Orlando City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Orlando City Hall. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Orlando city commissioners are taking the first steps Monday to possibly moving the city’s elections up five months. The change comes after lawmakers in Tallahassee moved the presidential primary.

State legislators moved Florida’s Presidential primary from March 1 to March 15 of next year. Orlando municipal elections are scheduled for April 3 – just two weeks after the primaries.

Orange County Supervisor of Election Bill Cowles worries the elections will be so close together that voters will be confused. And he’s warning the city there would also be two overlapping absentee ballots being circulated.

The city proposed moving the elections to November 3 of this year five month before the presidential primary. “We decided to shorten the time frame and go in November of 2015, a traditional election time period in which voters expect to go to the polls,” said City Attorney Mayanne Downs

Local party leaders say the move could lower voter turnout.

Downs said the move will lower voter confusion instead. “That’s better than the risk of voter confusion. Voter confusion, precinct confusion - that leads to bad balloting and confusion as to whether or not ballots are valid,” she said.

The measure must pass two readings in the City Council.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."