Letter to the Editor: Manatee County special referendum too costly, voter turnout abysmal

July 1, 2013 

The day after the recent election, the Herald proclaimed that "the voters spoke loud and clear by thrashing the referendum on a half-cent sales tax." That was not the message.

What really spoke "loud and clear" was that 82 percent of registered voters did not vote in this election. While great strides are being made nationally to stimulate more participatory democracy, here in Manatee County we are going backwards.

And now that we have elected someone to be our supervisor of elections who was instrumental in statewide attempts to restrict the right to vote, what can we look forward to now -- now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a key feature of the 1965 Voting Rights Act?

Let's follow the money. I call for our elections board to disclose the financial breakdown of the over three quarters of a million dollars that it took to allow 11 percent of our registered voters to decide an issue that was so convoluted that most nonvoters said that they did not really know what the vote was about.

Who really benefited from this fiasco of an election? A financial disclosure would incriminate and/or exonerate the responsible parties.

I am not holding my breath. After all, it is only the taxpayers' money that they have wasted again.

Jaime Canfield


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