Todd Chase: Move promotes party-line vote

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 8:41 p.m.

One thing that I have learned in two years in office is that very few items the City Commission decides to act upon are done without countless hours spent with staff, in meetings and on our own research.

The charter amendment on moving our elections to odd fall years is one of those issues that included even more rigor and analysis than usual. Six commissioners, all with their own views and backgrounds, overwhelmingly agreed that the amendment's recommendation was the best alternative to our current system.

The Sun's editorial on Saturday — focusing on one of the reasons that I do not support moving our city elections to coincide with the fall presidential, congressional and state elections due to what I called uninformed voters showing up in masses to simply vote for their party — was disappointing.

One of the primary factors in my decision to run for City Commission in 2011 was my personal disgust for our country's system of politics that focuses much more on the letter on your voter ID than the character and quality of the candidates. Increasing voter turnout simply by adding city elections to the bottom of the second or third page of a lengthy presidential ballot is not in the best interest of Gainesville, in my opinion. My point is that both parties have armies of volunteers outside of all of our polling places handing out pre-filled sample ballots that the voter simply has to copy with their actual ballot.

Any honest assessment of this scenario would show that voters who have local issues on their minds should decide local elections and that would not be the case here, and that is my point.

The editorial did, however, highlight what may be an even greater concern for the future of our city and country. Ultimately, I'm not sure what is worse, masses of uninformed voters deciding who our leaders will be or the uninformed members of the press attempting to inform them.

Todd Chase is a Gainesville city commissioner representing District 2.

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