Early voting numbers show good turnout
Saturday marks the end of one of Lee County’s most successful early voting periods in recent memory, according to Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.
As of Friday afternoon, almost 11,000 people countywide had cast their ballots in the two weeks early voting has been available.
Harrington said nearly 3,000 people took advantage of the early voting option in Cape Coral alone.
She added that the 2010 races have drawn more people to the polls than in 2006, the last time that major state offices like the Governor’s Office and U.S. Senate had seats up for grabs.
Harrington thinks that early voting has been so popular this year because the primary election — to be held Tuesday — falls on the second day of a new school year.
“In order to alleviate some of that hassle of getting kids back in school, I think people are getting out there and voting,” she said. “This way, it’s on their time, and their schedule.”
There were no major drop offs in the number of voters from day to day, Harrington said, just a steady stream of people who made their way to the polls with slight declines from day to day.
She thinks the number of people who used early voting might have an affect on the crowds Tuesday, but still feels there will be a good turnout for the primary.
For those who haven’t voted, Harrington said now is the time.
“They need to get off the couch and cast their vote … we make as easy as possible for them,” she said.
For people who haven’t taken advantage of early voting, there’s still time. Early voting locations stay open to open to 5 p.m. today.
In Cape Coral, the early voting location is at 1031 S.E. 9th Place, near city hall.
Other polling 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.
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.