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Over 1,100 turn out for first day of early voting in Cape

By Staff | Aug 9, 2010

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said she is “pleased” with the early voting numbers as of Monday afternoon.
Harrington said the Cape Coral poling location at 1031 S.E. 9th Place, near Cape Coral City Hall, was behind only the Fort Myers location as the busiest voting spot in all of Lee County.
“It seems to be steady all day long,” Harrington said. “It’s not just in spurts, it’s just steadily going.”
Harrington reported that over 1,100 people had voted at the Cape Coral poling location as of 3 p.m. Monday, and that the voting process has been going smoothly.
“There’s no long wait lines,” Harrington added.
There are five early voting locations scattered throughout the county, with each sporting the same operating hours of Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Republican races dominate the Lee County primary election ballots, set for Aug. 24, but some key non-partisan races appear on the ballot as well, including three school board races and two county judicial seats.
Harrington is urging all registered voters to get out and vote, even those without party affiliation who may think they are unable to vote until the general election in November.
She said previously that voters need to bring photo identification to polling locations — preferably a driver’s license — those who don’t have a photo ID will be able to vote anyway through use of a provisional ballot.
Numbers of early voters as of Monday afternoon were encouraging, Harrington said, as this year’s races have drawn more people to the polls than the 2006 election races at this same point.
Harrington credits the candidates, who, she said, have done a good job of getting voters interested.
“There’s a lot of activity this time around,” Harrington said. “Kudos to the candidates. They’ve been working really hard.”
Early voting races include:

Lee County Commission
The District 1 Commission Race features the most packed field, with five candidates vying for the seat left vacant when long-time commissioner Bob Janes died earlier this year.
Gov. Charlie Crist appointed John Manning to fill the seat until November, and Manning hopes to retain the seat for the remainder of Janes’ term as one of the Republican candidates. Manning is a former county commissioner and Cape Coral City Council member.
In the primary he faces off against three other Republican candidates: Robert “Bob” Chilmonik, former Lee County School Board member; Mike Jackson, former director of the Cape Coral Economic Development Office; and Chris Berardi, former Cape Coral City Council member.
The winner of the primary will face Carla Brooks Johnston, former mayor and city council member of Sanibel, who is running without party affiliation, in November’s general election.
The District 2 primary race features incumbent Brian Bigelow facing three Republican challengers: Cecil Pendergrass, Dick Ripp and Sonny Haas.
The Republican winner will face Democrat Debbie Jordan in November’s general elections.
The District 4 county commission race will not appear on the primary ballot. Incumbent and current commission chair Tammy Hall, a Republican, will face Debbie Jackow, no party affiliation, in the November general election.
County commission races are countywide, meaning qualified voters (Republicans in the primary, everyone in November) can cast a ballot in each race, regardless of the district in which they live.

Lee County
School Board
The District 1 seat became available when Bob Chilmonik stepped down to run for county commission.
That means three candidates will face off in the non-partisan primary, each with no previous school board experience.
Mary Fischer, John Traube and former Cape Coral Police Chief Arnold Gibbs will vie for the seat.
The District 4 seat will feature incumbent Steven Teuber facing challenger Don Armstrong.
In the District 5 seat, incumbent Elinor Scricca faces challenger Thomas Scott.
School board races are non-partisan, countywide races, meaning all voters, regardless of party affiliation, can cast a ballot in each race.

Lee County Judge Seats
Group 3
Robert J. Branning, Frank Mann Jr. and David Shestokas, all of Fort Myers, and Cape Coral resident Miguel C. Fernandez III will face off for the group 3 judge’s seat.
Group 4
Former Cape Coral Mayor Eric P. Feichthaler has challenged the incumbent, Archie B. Hayward Jr., for the group 4 judge’s seat.
County court judicial races are non-partisan, countywide races, meaning all voters, regardless of party affiliation can cast a ballot in each race.
For additional voting information, call 533-8683.