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Vote-by-mail ballots best way to go this year

By Staff | Jul 6, 2018

With the Primary and General Election ballot races firmed up as of the end of qualifying last Friday, the 2018 election season is now sliding toward home.

And very quickly.

The Primary is Aug. 28 with early voting set for Aug. 18 through Aug. 25.

Voters are going to want to take particular note as there are some key races on the Primary ballot including the hotly contested Republican primary for state attorney as well as some crowded non-partisan school board seats.

The General Election is not until Nov. 6 (early voting is set for Oct. 22-Nov. 3) but voters are going to face a mega ballot. Predicted to be “pages long,” it will not only be rift with federal, state and local races but 13 – yes, 13 – proposed amendments to the state’s constitution and two local tax initiatives.

That’s a lot to take in – and a lot to decide.

Which is why we join the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office in urging – strongly urging – voters to opt for a mail ballot this year.

Don’t get us wrong – we are among those who love Election Day with all its excitement and traditions, including, but certainly not limited to, election night pizza for the newsroom while awaiting the final results to come in.

But we also acknowledge that sometimes the “new” way is the better way and, for 2018, that’s vote-by-mail.

Those proposed constitutional amendments?

They run the gamut.

There’s everything from a Legislature-tendered increase in Homestead property tax exemptions and another that would set limitations on property tax assessments to the mishmash of eight “bundled” – some would say bungled – multi-topic offerings from the state’s specially appointed Constitution Revision Commission.

Those tax initiatives?

The School District of Lee County is asking voters countywide to approve a half-cent sales tax to help fund school infrastructure needs.

Here in Cape Coral, voters will vote yes or no on a $60 million General Obligation bond initiative for a parks plan to be paid back via a slightly higher property tax rate.

And the races on the ballots?

It’s an “even” election year and seats up for grabs at the state level include attorney general and chief financial officer as well as commissioner of agriculture and governor, the latter two of perhaps particular importance to anyone following Southwest Florida’s on-going water woes.

Federal races include the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and the District 19 House seat held by Congressman Francis Rooney, a Republican. Neither faces a Primary challenge, but each will face contenders in November with Gov. Rick Scott looking to clear a Republican primary and unseat Nelson.

In Florida, voters do not need an approved reason to opt for the convenience of voting by mail and the process of requesting a ballot be spent your way is extremely easy:

Voters who want to receive a mail ballot can call, e-mail, fax, or mail the request, or they may make it in person at any Lee County Supervisor of Elections branch office.

Call 239-533-8683; fax: 239-533-6322; E-mail: votebymail@lee.vote; mail to P. O. Box 2545, Fort Myers FL 33902 or simply visit lee.vote/Military-and-Overseas-Voters/Request-a-Vote-by-Mail-Ballot.

Lee.vote also offers full information on elections dates and deadlines, the candidates and related information.

Filling out a ballot this year may not be fast but it can be easy, at least from a convenience standpoint:

Request a vote-by-mail ballot.

Take as much time as you need to make an informed decision.

And then mail that ballot back.

It may just become a new election tradition.

-Breeze editorial