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Cape Coral council primary is Tuesday

By Staff | Sep 12, 2009

Of the 88,800 “active” registered voters in Cape Coral, only 849 turned out for early voting as of late Friday afternoon, according to the Lee County Office of Elections.
With early voting ending today, Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington speculated that such low turnout might prove too much for municipalities, which have to pay for the service of early voting, in the future.
“There’s such a low turnout your cost per voter goes up so much,” Harrington said. “Down the road they (cities) might not want to pay for that option because it’s not required by law. They could just say it’s too expensive and not offer it.”
Compared to Fort Myers, where only 282 people turned out to cast their ballots early, Cape Coral seems like a venerably boom town when it came to early voting this week.
Offered in part to give people another voting option during election years, the numbers for early voting for this election cycle have waned from day to day since it opened last Saturday.
Harrington said the Cape numbers might have been better than Fort Myers because voters are allowed to vote across district lines.
“In the Cape, it’s different because they can vote for everyone on the ballot,” she added. “In Fort Myers, if their ward isn’t up for election they can only vote for mayor.”
With the primary election on Tuesday, one city leader is guessing that voter turnout will remain low.
Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce President Mike Qaintance thinks only 10 percent of the voters will cast their ballots next week.
He think the economy, in part, will play a roll in the final numbers.
“Folks are focused on other things, some are disenfranchised,” he said. “I think people are focusing on trying to find jobs, make ends meet.”
Qaintance doesn’t think the general election in November will be much different, guessing that only 15 percent of all voters will cast their ballots.
While Qaintance hopes he’s wrong, he does feel that more people will try to make their voices heard.
“Local government is the thing that impacts us the most,” he said. “I’m disappointed more of us aren’t engaged in the process.”
The mayor’s race offers five candidates: Incumbent Jim Burch, challengers Roger Butler, Stephen Lovejoy, Robert Pizzolongo and John Sullivan.
Vying for the District 6 seat are candidates Frank Antos Jr., John Cataldi Jr., and Kevin McGrail.
Cape Coral municipal primary elections, like the general elections, are non-partisan and citywide, meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in all races.
The top two vote getters in each race in the primary will advance to the general election in November.
The Lee County Office of Elections is recommending all voters go online or call their office to verify their voting location.
Three precincts have been closed in the Cape, according to Sharon Harrington.
Polls will be open Tuesday, Sept. 15, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The office of elections phone number is LEE VOTE.