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Turnout low for primary election

By Staff | Sep 16, 2009

Fewer than 10 percent of all registered voters turned out to cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary elections in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
While the Lee County Office of Elections would not verify if it was an all-time low, voters in the Cape who did exercise their right to vote were stunned by the empty polls.
Nine-year Cape resident Barbara Tillotson was only the 114th voter to cast her ballot at her precinct.
“I think it’s sad,” she said. “For as many people who turned out for the UEP (utilities expansion project) meetings or the millage and then not be here today … it’s a poor reflection on their part.”
Just more than 900 voters turned out for early voting, which ran for a week and ended Saturday.
While Tuesday’s totals seem like a venerable boom compared to the early voting numbers, they do indicate that fewer citizens were interested in the primary contest.
With 88,500 registered voters in Cape Coral, there were only 11,129 ballots cast Tuesday.
That number reflects the Cape and Fort Myers, where only 1,773 votes won Randy Henderson Fort Myers’ mayoral seat.
In the Cape, citizens casting their ballots at the Cape library on their way home from work wondered where the voters were.
Jeff Wagner, an 11-year Cape resident, called the turnout “pathetic.” He was the 115th voter from his precinct to cast a ballot.
“Look at the horrendous condition this city is in, and if you’re not going to vote, then don’t complain,” Wagner said. “People are going to meetings, but where are they now?”
Empty polls did spell quick voting times for those who showed.
Linda Dvorak said voting was smooth, but ultimately she said there were more poll workers than voters.
“I was all by myself in there,” she said.
Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharron Harrington did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday evening.