boxes of petitions

Committee for a Strong Lakeland wheeled 34 boxes into the Polk Supervisor of Election’s Office today. Inside were 6,789 petitions the group collected asking for a special election to decide whether Lakeland will change its form of government to one where an elected mayor runs the city administration instead of a hired city manager.

Supervisor of Election Lori Edwards said she has no doubt she and her staff can meet a 30-day deadline to review the petitions to determine whether at least 6,038 were validly signed by people registered to vote in city of Lakeland elections.

Presuming enough signatures are valid, the City Commission will be asked to set a special election in 60 to 90 days. The election can be held several ways, including in-person voting at polling places to an all-mail-in election.

Registered voters in Lakeland city limits would be asked to approve a revised city charter proposed by Citizens for a Strong Lakeland.

The City Commission has appointed its own committee to review the city charter and recommend changes. That group is expected to complete its work by June. It voted in May at one of its earliest meetings to recommend keeping the current council-manager form of government rather than rehashing the strong mayor debate.

Petitions came from every part of town, according to Matt Doster, the consultant hired to coordinate Citizens for a Strong Lakeland efforts.

A statement he released said: “The committee collected signatures from all 30 major precincts in Lakeland (3 small precinct “splits” contain fewer than 10 voters each). No precinct accounted for more than 9 percent of the total, and the average per precinct was 3 percent.”

For more on the petitions turned in today, see Ledger coverage.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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