That has always perplexed me.
When I was a boy in Orlando, I remember seeing this stenciled message on some downtown crosswalks: If you don’t vote, don’t gripe.
But the first step in the election process is getting people to register to vote – which is what we’re going to try to do at the next Alive After 5 on Thursday.
Mike Ertel, Seminole County’s supervisor of elections, will be in our office signing up new voters just in time for this year’s busy election season.
This is going to be a busy election year with a bunch of city, county, state and federal offices up for grabs.
In addition to Sanford and Lake Mary, which both will have mayoral and two commission seats on their ballots, other municipal races in the county will be: two commission seats in Altamonte Springs, three commission seats in Casselberry, three council seats in Oviedo, and mayor and two commission seats in Winter Springs.
County races include: two commission seats, three school board seats, two judgeships for the 18th Judicial Court, one judgeship for Seminole County Court, and two seats on the Soil and Water Conservation District.
But wait, there’s more!
Seminole voters also will be casting ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, three Florida senators, four Florida state representatives, a U.S. senator and three U.S. representatives.
That’s a lot at stake this year – too much to leave to that guy down the street who doesn’t pay any attention to the issues but will vote for someone whose campaign signs are most prevalent or most colorful.
In the 2008 presidential election, Seminole County was one of the top counties in the state for voter turnout, with 79.8 percent of the registered voters casting ballots.
As of Monday, there were 257,046 registered voters in the county – and if you’re not registered, you should be.
"We're proud of Seminole County's voter registration rate of 80.73 percent, which is among the highest in the state,” Ertel said. "We also want to encourage a great voter turnout for the August 24 and November 2 elections. There are so many things on the ballot this year, something on it is sure to spark every voter's interest."
For the past few weeks, Ertel also has been asking for citizen ideas for voter outreach.
Ideas that have been presented range from “Set up music at the precincts, allowing local acts to entertain the voters” to “Have the supervisor of elections in a dunk tank at events to register voters” to “Provide each person who votes with a lottery ticket at the polls.”
Several of the ideas have merit, Ertel said, and he hopes to implement them, such as: “Work with utility companies to notify new move-ins that registering to vote at your new address is easy.”
So we’ll have something for both the voters and unregistered voters when you stop by our office at Alive After 5 on Thursday: Voters can give Ertel some innovative ideas on voter outreach, and unregistered voters can move over into that first category.
And besides, then you’ll be able to gripe later about the job performance of whoever wins the races.
Sometimes all it takes to help a situation is to get everyone together in the same room and discuss the nuts and bolts.
That is pretty much happened this week when Sanford’s Alive After 5 was given the green light to keep hosting the monthly downtown street party – as long as certain conditions are met. Recently, there were concerns by some state agencies that the food being handed out at the event was not properly permitted.
The key condition is that vendors who participate in the event by handing out food samples cannot receive any payment – which already is the way the event works.
As long as the organizations are part of the event run by the non-profit Historic Sanford Welcome Center, they come under the guidelines that apply to the welcome center.
Meeting on Thursday at the city hall were representatives from the city, welcome center, state Division of Hotels and Restaurants, Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco, Community Redevelopment Agency, Creative Sanford, and a downtown bar owner.
Once everyone sat in the same room and asked each other their fill of questions, the answer became obvious: Alive After 5 is good to go on Thursday.
‘Ville’ you know it?
A tough geography question was asked this week by Dan Ping, who runs Dan The Man Trivia night at the Black Swan Pub on Wednesdays.
See if you can answer it: Name the five largest U.S. cities that end in “ville.” (“Ville, by the way, is French for “town.”)
Anyway, the question spurred me to wonder what the five largest Florida cities are that end in that suffix.
There happens to be a small, unincorporated area of Seminole County that ends the same way. Extra credit if you know that one.
All these answers are with today’s answer for the Where Am I? photo on Page 13.
Going in style
We received some positive comments this week about the Herald’s new local stylebook, which we just put online. We created it for staffers to use to help with accuracy and consistency, but we decided to make it available for anyone who might find it useful.
Several companies mentioned that they plan to use it for their correspondence.
If you want to know whether to use Wekiva or Wekiwa, Tuscawilla or Tuskawilla, or some other confusing words, go to http://mysanfordherald.com/pages/stylebook.
You’ll need to register for our website if you haven’t already done so.
As I mentioned last week, the stylebook will be updated frequently, and I’ve already started a list of more entries to add. If you think of any that should be included, please let us know.
Time flies when you’re having fun
Thanks to everyone for making our first year in our new building so successful. We moved into our new office March 6, 2009, and although the move from 300 N. French Ave. to 217 E. 1st St. was less than a mile, it has made a world of difference to us.
We love being downtown in the middle of activity, and many of you have taken the opportunity to come by to see us. If you haven’t been in, please stop by and say “hey.”
Comments can be sent to Herald publisher Gene Kruckemyer at GKruckemyer@MySanfordHerald.com.