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Let Our People Vote!

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The Manatee Supervisor of Elections office is legally required to open the Manatee County School Board District 5 board position in the 2024 elections as of May 31. The office has not responded to the League of Women Voters of Manatee County's request to open this position for election in 2024.  The office has yet to notify the two individuals who have filed for the seat in 2026 that they are now eligible to run for this office in 2024.

Richard Tatem is the current District 5 school board member, and his term runs until 2026. Since Mr. Tatem is running for another office, he was required to submit a letter of resignation by May 31, which he did. He indicated he would vacate the office on November 5, 2024.

Per the Florida constitution, if there are less than 28 months left in the term, the Governor appoints a replacement for the remainder of the term. If there are 28 or more months left in the term, a special election is held to fill the position. The question is, does the calculation date run from the resignation date or the date he vacates the office?

According to a FL Supreme Court advisory opinion (928 So.2d 1218, Supreme Court of Florida), the “remainder of the term” for elected county officials should be calculated from the date the resignation is tendered, not the date the incumbent intends to vacate the office. So, although Mr. Tatem does not intend to vacate the office until November 5, the FL Supreme Court opinion says that the position should be included in the August/November election cycle in Manatee County; as of May 31, 2024, there are more than 28 months left in Mr. Tatum’s term on the school board.

Rev. James Golden, Nancy T. Sanders, and Jonathan Mullis have filed to run for this office. For the sake of democracy and to follow the law, the Supervisor of Elections should open up the process for citizens to vote on who will replace the resigning Tatem. The voters should decide their representative.  

Contact James Satcher, Supervisor of Elections (jsatcher@votemanatee.gov), and tell him you expect an election so that you, the voters, can select who will represent you on the Manatee School Board.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that three candidates have already filed to run for the seat.

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  • san.gander

    Will a lawsuit against the Manatee Supervisor of Elections, Satcher be necessary to get him to do his job? If he does not follow the law on this... what redress do Golden and Mullis have in the courts?

    Sunday, June 2 Report this

  • nancytsanders

    This week is qualifying week for candidates who wish to be on the upcoming primary ballot. As noted in the League of Women Voter's article, "Let Our People Vote!" the LWVs called to have the District 5 school board seat filled by an election. However, no one in our Supervisor of Election's Office seems to know if the District 5 seat will be filled by election or governor's appointment. As a candidate for that seat, I called this morning and spoke to David Ballard, the SOE's Chief of Staff to see if a decision had been made. He informed me their office was waiting to hear from "their attorneys." I asked who their attorneys were and he said Gray Robinson Law, whose closest office is in Tampa. I spoke to a woman at Gray Robinson who said she knew nothing about the situation but would do some research and get back to me. Hopefully, a legal opinion will be provided to our SOE's office before qualifying ends Friday, June 14th. Nancy T. Sanders, Candidate for Manatee County School Board, District 5

    Monday, June 10 Report this

  • WTF

    This is deserving of a lawsuit. SOE is way out of bounds

    Sounds like Satcher is practicing law without a license.

    He needs his ass handed to him before we give him the boot in November

    2 days ago Report this