Your guide to Lakeland’s 2021 municipal election

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Photos via the City of Lakeland | Graphic via 6AM City

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At LALtoday, we aim to cover local elections in a way that educates and activates our community with unbiased information to encourage individual voter participation. (I.e. vote for whoever + whatever you want to, just make sure to vote.) To learn more, check out our Editorial Ethics Policy.

Tues., Nov. 2 is the big day — aka Election Dayand we’ve done the Googling so you don’t have to. To make this election as easy as possible, we’ve curated need-to-know information about how and where to vote, along with what we’re voting on — from seats to amendments. 👇

Are you registered?

First things first, make sure you’re eligible + registered to vote.

Find your polling location

Polk County polling places will be open on Tues., Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re unsure where to go, you can request voter information that provides your registration status + polling location. Early walk-in voting is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Nov. 1 at these locations. You’ll be required to provide signature and photo identification, which can be in the form of your Florida driver’s license, US passport, student ID, or other form of identification.

Voting absentee? The deadline to request a mail-in ballot was Sat., Oct. 23 + completed ballots must be returned to the Election Headquarters or the Operations Center by 7 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 2 to be counted.

In Lakeland, you’ll be voting for a mayor, two city commissioner seats, and two amendments to the city charter.


Amendment 1 would modify how City Commission vacancies are filled by addressing them at regular rather than special elections.

Amendment 2 would allow for the special appointment of members to the City Canvassing Boardwhich counts or rejects election ballots — in certain circumstances.

See a breakdown of current methods + what both of these proposed changes would mean.

Meet the candidates

Qualifying for this year’s elections is noon, Sept. 13-noon Sept. 17. Candidates pay a qualifying fee of $250 + 1% of the position’s annual salary, $696.00 for the Mayor’s seat, and $547.33 for a Commissioner’s seat.

Commissioner seats up for election include the seats for Mayor, District C for the southwest, and District D for the southeast.


District D

  • Commissioner Mike Musick is a deacon at Heritage Baptist Church and established Leverage Ministries, a nonprofit organization benefiting underserved youth.
  • Dr. Shandale Terrell is currently an educator for Polk County Public Schools. He has been actively involved with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and served on the City of Lakeland Gang Task Force. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Lakeland Police Citizens Advisory Board.

District C

  • Commissioner Sara Roberts McCarley is active in the Lakeland community, working particularly with the Harrison School for the Arts Philanthropy Committee and Parent Association, the Lakeland High School Parent Teacher Partnership, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy PTO, and others. Currently, she serves on the Lakeland Vision Board and the Mayor’s Council on the Arts.
  • Allyson Lewis is an educator, as well as a political organizer who created a wellness-check system during the pandemic to ensure the safety of older adults and hosted public “call to consciousness” forums to discuss racial inequities in 2020.

For more information on how, when, and where to vote, click here.