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Sumter County Commission considers referendum on single-member district voting

Twice before, Sumter County voted on whether to elect its commissioners countywide or in single-member districts.

Now the County Commission will consider putting that question to voters yet again.

Sixteen years ago, voters approved the One Sumter initiative. The five county commissioners reside in separate districts but are elected by all county voters.

In 2008, a group known as Reverse One Sumter pushed a referendum to undo that decision. The at-large voting, they said, was unfair to residents outside The Villages.

The referendum failed.

It’s back now at tonight’s County Commission meeting as three newly elected commissioners are taking a fresh look at issues affecting The Villages.

Commissioner Oren Miller was leading a Reverse One Sumter petition drive before COVID-19 shut it down. He wants commissioners to be, quote, “accountable” to the people in their districts.

Under Florida law, the referendum cannot be a standalone special election — so it might have to hold until the 2022 primary.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.