Early voting continues today and Saturday
With early voting wrapping up this weekend, the primary election is set for Tuesday.
Early voting kicked off Thursday and will continue through Saturday.
Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle suggested that people get out early to cast their ballot.
“I’d get your vote in soon, rather than worry about it on Tuesday because that’s the last day,” he said, pointing out that unexpected things can happen. “You never know – get it out of the way.”
“A lot of people procrastinate and they never get to vote,” Doyle added.
People were taking advantage of early voting Thursday morning.
“There’s been about 60 between the city of Fort Myers and the city of Cape Coral,” he said.
Doyle explained that the actual total turnout was just over 600. Voters got two days of early voting on Sept. 5-6 before the Elections Office had to postpone the remaining days until after Hurricane Irma.
On Wednesday, staff redelivered the voting equipment to the sites and tested it out.
“Everything kicked off just perfectly like we planned,” he said Thursday.
Six early voting sites throughout Lee County will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those who decide to take advantage of early voting may visit any of the six locations to cast their ballot.
The early voting sites are:
n Cape Coral-Lee County Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace
n Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library, 3095 Blount St., Fort Myers
n Fort Myers Fire Station No. 5, 9700 Treeline Ave., Fort Myers
n Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First St., Fort Myers
n Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers, 4224 Renaissance Preserve Way, Fort Myers
n Cape Coral-Lee County Elections Branch Office, 1039 S.E. Ninth Ave.
Voters will need to bring their photo signature identification.
As of Thursday morning, approximately 32,000 vote-by-mail ballots had been requested by voters in the Cape. Doyle reported that about 11,000 of those total ballots had been returned and accepted.
“We’ve received almost 16,000 mail ballots back between the two cities,” he said.
The ballots are due by 7 p.m. Tuesday – Election Day.
They can be put in the mail – postage is covered – or dropped off at one of the drop boxes.
The drop boxes are at the:
n Cape Coral Branch Office, at 1039 S.E. Ninth Ave.: Until 3 p.m. Tuesday
n Main Office, at 2480 Thompson St., Third Floor: Until 7 p.m. Tuesday
Doyle recommended that voters bubble in the ovals on their ballot and do not over vote.
“Make sure they sign the certificate, the envelope,” he said. “Make sure it’s the same signature on file with our office.”
The Elections Office will send out a letter if a ballot is not signed or the signature does not match.
“It (the letter) may not get back in time for that ballot to count,” Doyle said.
Voters who requested a mail ballot but decide to vote early or Tuesday can do so. They just need to bring their entire mail ballot packet, including the envelope, to the polling site and surrender it.
On Election Day, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Again, people will need to have their photo signature identification to vote.
“Make sure you have an approved form of identification,” he said.
“They have to go to their specific polling site,” Doyle added.
One precinct’s polling location has been moved due to a scheduling conflict, the result of postponing the election for the storm. Precinct 93 will vote at the Cape Alliance Church, at 4307 Skyline Blvd.
According to officials, there are approximately 150,000 people registered to vote in the municipal elections. As of Thursday, about 16,000 had cast a ballot between early voting and mail ballots.
“So far, that’s a 10 percent return,” he said. “I hope we get better.”
“I would expect at least 20 percent, but I’m hoping for 30 (percent),” Doyle added.
He acknowledged that many people are still recovering from Irma.
“Elections aren’t on people’s minds right now,” Doyle said.
He pointed out, however, that local elections are the most important elections.
“They actually direct our everyday lives,” he said of the races. “If you don’t have a good turnout, you really don’t have a voice for what the people want. The voice of the voters is not actually heard.”
For more information about elections, candidates, early voting, mail ballots or precinct locations, contact the Lee County Elections Office at 239-LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or visit: http://www.lee.vote/.
The following races will be on the ballot for the Tuesday Primary Election:
City of Cape Coral
* Joe Coviello
* Derrick Donnell
* Rana Erbrick
* April Freeman
* Michael D. Hollow
* Kevin Koch
* Daniel James Sheppard III
City of Cape Coral
City Council District 1
* James Fredrick Foraker
* John Gunter
* Graham Madison Morris
City of Cape Coral
City Council District 4
* Jeffrey Alan Jones
* Richard Leon (incumbent)
* Jennifer I. Nelson
All municipal candidate races are nonpartisan races.
Voters registered in the city may cast a ballot in every race no matter party affiliation or the district in which they live.