Proposed implementation of ranked choice voting in Sarasota to be discussed at April 9 meeting

Session to feature speaker from Minnesota who lead a successful campaign for such a system, organizers say

The Fogartyville Community Media and Art Center is located on Kumquat Court in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

On Sunday, April 9, the Election Reform Committee of the Peace Education and Action Center will host an educational meeting at 3 p.m. at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center to explain how ranked choice voting works, review the current status of such a system in Sarasota “and examine the opportunities, challenges and next steps in implementation,” the committee has announced.

The Fogartyville Center is located at 525 Kumquat Court near downtown Sarasota.

In 2007, a news release says, “Sarasota voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative supporting the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting [RCV] in the City of Sarasota (77% support). It was seen as a way to improve elections and save taxpayer dollars by avoiding costly runoffs,” the release adds. “At the time of the referendum, the election machines in use in Sarasota were not capable of RCV,” the release continues, but this changed with the purchase of new machines last year by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office.

Jeanne Massey. Image from the FairVote Minnesota website

The featured speaker on April 9 will be Jeanne Massey, executive director of FairVote Minnesota, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization that promotes progressive voting systems that lead to greater competitiveness, better representation and more participation,” the release says. Before taking her current position, the release adds, Massey “led the successful Minneapolis Better Ballot Campaign” to adopt ranked choice voting in 2006. The release notes that she is a frequent media resource on electoral reform.

Sarasota resident Tony Stefan will present the history of the RCV initiative in Sarasota, and committee co-chair John Severini will talk about next steps in the campaign, locally and statewide, the release says.

The doors will open at 3 p.m. for an informal reception, the release adds; the presentation will start at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit