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Early voting kicks off in city for general election

By Staff | Oct 27, 2009

By Monday afternoon less than 500 Cape Coral residents turned out on the first day of early voting to cast a ballot for the general election.
Only time will tell if early voting results are as dismal as they were for the primary election, when only 9 percent of the more than 88,000 registered Cape voters cast a ballot.
Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said first day numbers do little to indicate where the final tally might land, but she remains hopeful that early voting will be successful.
“At this point it’s really hard to tell,” she said. “It’s really just day to day.”
According to Harrington, it costs the city approximately $6,000 to operate the polling site for six days.
At roughly $1,000 per day, she said the city might opt out of early voting in the future.
Though municipalities simply have to notify Harrington’s office if they choose not to participate in early voting, she said the city really does it as a favor to the citizens, especially those who might not be able to make it to the polls on Election Day.
“It’s a shame because cities are spending good money to give people the opportunity to vote,” she said. “They’re trying to be nice guys.”
The Nov. 3 general election will decide the mayoral race and city council seats in Districts 1, 4 and 6.
Incumbent Jim Burch is facing challenger John Sullivan for the mayor’s seat.
Jim Martin and Marty McClain are vying for the District 1 seat, incumbent Dolores Bertolini is facing Chris Chulakes-Leetz for the District 4 seat, and Kevin McGrail is facing John Cataldi Jr. for the District 6 seat.
Harrington is looking toward Saturday for the big early voter rush, saying people find voting on Saturdays more convenient.
“Saturdays are usually pretty good,” she said. “People have more time on the weekends.”
Early voting continues through Saturday. Hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Polling locations are 1031 S.E. Ninth Place, No. 3, and 2480 Thompson St. in Fort Myers. Registered voters can cast their ballots at either location.