Small City Big Politics: Election Day in City of Alachua
A small city should have a simple election, but that hasn't been the case in the city of Alachua. Now, the State's Board of Elections has sent monitors to oversee the process.
After weeks of uncertainty the moment of decision has arrived, and many agree that election day has come on a wave of controversy.
There are three candidates and only one city commission seat. And because of the conflict over having an election, it's been a short campaign cycle that in the end has an additional set of eyes overseeing the process.
With the final hours of a difficult election coming to end, the three candidates agree on one thing which the incumbent of open seat 2 Bonnie K. Burgess summed up,"Make sure that the votes are counted and they are counted based on what the citizens of Alachua want."
By request from candidate Charles Grapski's party, the state sent two monitors to oversee the process --that in the past has raised questions and has been the source of law suits. "I'd like to see neutral people running the election but at least we have somebody who's observing it," said Grapski.
The state's spokesperson Sterling Ivey says that having the resources and available staff made the request for their presence from the Green party possible. "We're there as an independent 3rd party to observe the elections and endure that the election's fair and accurate," said Ivey from Tallahassee.
While it is unusual for the state to intervene in city elections, their presence today is a source of security for all the candidates. But not necessarily a source of pride, according to candidate and local businessman Michael Perkins "I think it's an embarrassment that to have to have that happen that we can't expect a fair and impartial election."
Now it's in the hands of the voters, but turn out was only trickling in, and is expected to be low.
"My primary goal today is to make sure that something's going to change in the city of alachua with the outcome of this election, hopefully I can win the election but if Mike Perkins wins or we end up in a runoff I think we're in good shape," said Grapski.
But Perkins, took time away from his accounting practice to stand att the busy intersection off Route 441 and CR235, says "It's been an unfair campaign from day one. I'm glad that they are here..."
And the incumbent commissioner didn't disagree with the state's presence,"...looking to see if things were going like they should in the city of Alachua I have no doubt we are doing things correctly and above board."
A task the state has undertaken, which will issue a report within 30 days cataloguing issues if any arise and they will make suggestions for future elections.
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