PARKER, Fla. - Early voting began for municipal elections in Bay County on Monday.
In the City of Parker, incumbent mayor Rich Musgrave and two council members are both running unopposed. However, there is one thing on the ballot though that should have all Parker residents casting their votes.
Parker is currently one of few municipalities in Florida that votes candidates onto the council at large rather than to a specific seat.
"If three or more are running, it's the top 2 vote-getters that get seats 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, whichever odd year we're running, but they don't identify which specific seat," said Mayor Musgrave.
Mayor Musgrave says this complicates the voting process, resulting in some voters only casting ballots for one person, instead of two.
"It kind of scews the whole results, and one person may come out with a fair number of votes, and the other two are scrambling because somebody didn't do the second vote," said Mayor Musgrave.
That's not the only issue Mayor Musgrave sees with the current system.
"If you've got a really good councilman that everyone knows is doing a really good job and they'd like to see him continue, if anybody runs against the other person, then that person that everybody thinks did a really great job is going to have to campaign. That's just not fair," said Mayor Musgrave.
On this year's ballot, residents will get to vote on a new referendum, stating candidates must declare what specific seat on the council they're running for.
"It's still a city wide seat. It's not geographically bound like you have with some larger municipalities. So it's city wide, but they declare which seat they're going to run for," said Mayor Musgrave.
Mayor Musgrave says, with this being the only thing on the ballot, it's important that residents come out and vote on the referendum.
"It's really to clean up our election process so we're doing it like almost everybody else is doing," said Mayor Musgrave.
If the referendum passes, it will go into effect for the 2019 Parker City Council election.
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