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Early voting draws closer

By Staff | Oct 24, 2009

Early voting starts Monday, but if voter turnout mirrors that of the primary election, then chances are that voter participation will remain low.
Only 9 percent of all registered voters in Cape Coral and Fort Myers cast a ballot in September’s primary, a number that surprised both municipalities, according to Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.
Harrington said that historically more voters turn out for a general election. She hopes that trend will continue.
“I think it might be higher because most people vote in the general election and not the primary,” Harrington said. “We’re hoping we get more people at least.”
Though this year’s first voting session yielded less than stellar results, Harrington said early voting continues to give people who might be busy on Election Day, Nov. 3, a chance to vote.
She cited firefighters who work 24-hour shifts as an example.
“Actually, quite a few people take advantage of it,” Harrington said. “It’s really for people who might not be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. It’s an opportunity to allow people who want to get out and vote to do so.”
With the Fort Myers mayoral race already decided, it is likely that the turnout in the city could remain low, according to Harrington.
Cape Coral remains the great unknown, and the elections supervisor said it is “hard to predict” what the final numbers will be.
In the Cape, voters will elect a mayor from between incumbent Jim Burch and challenger John Sullivan.
They will also select council members in District 1, Jim Martin or Kenneth “Marty” McClain; District 4, incumbent Dolores Bertolini or challenger Chris Chulakes-Leetz; and District 6, John Cataldi Jr. or Kevin McGrail.
Early voting will take place at 1031 S.E. Ninth Place, behind the Lee County building. Hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Early voting ends Saturday.
Voters can also cast a ballot early at the Lee County Elections Main Office, located at 2480 Thompson St., in Fort Myers.
For more information, call 533-VOTE (8683).