Early voting numbers ‘good’
By DREW WINCHESTER
Early voting is still drawing good numbers to the polls, as Saturday marks the end of early voting’s first week.
According to the Lee County Supervisor of Election’s office, 5,553 people had cast their ballots as of Friday evening.
Cape Coral ranks second in the county for the number of voters who cast their ballots early for the primary election. The early voting location near Bell Tower in south Fort Myers ranked first.
Monday, 407 people cast their ballots in the Cape, 309 on Tuesday, 275 on Wednesday, 260 on Thursday, and 245 as of late Friday.
Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington was out of the office and unavailable for comment on Friday, but said previously that the primary election offers chances for non-partisan voters to cast a ballot as well.
“There are things on the ballot for everyone to vote on regardless of party. County judge races are open to everyone,” Harrington said previously. “For those with no affiliation there are still things for people to vote on, very important races.”
Voters without a photo ID can still vote through use of a provisional ballot, but Harrington still encourages that everyone bring along a photo ID.
There are five early voting locations scattered throughout the county, with each sporting the same operating hours of Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 pm.
In Cape Coral, the early voting location is at 1031 S.E. 9th Pl, near city hall.
Other poling locations include: Lee County Elections Main Office at 2480 Thompson St., Fort Myers; Elections Branch Office at 13180 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers; Bonita Springs Branch Office at 24951 Old US 41, Suite 10, Bonita Springs; and the East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Rd., Lehigh Acres.
Voters can cast ballots at any of the five early voting locations, regardless of where they live. Early voting continues through Saturday, Aug. 21.
Primary election 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 will feature 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
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.
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 more voting information call 533-8683.