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Voters head to the polls today

By Staff | Nov 1, 2010

Lee County voters will head to the polls today for the 2010 general election.
Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said there are 40 different ballot styles, with candidates vying for county seats on up to the highest positions in the state. There are races for the governor’s seat and attorney general’s seat, as well as races in the county commission and local taxing authorities.
Seats on the Lee County School Board and the Lee Memorial Health Board are also on the ballot, along with one race for a Lee County court judge seat.
“It depends on where people live, which races are on their ballot,” Harrington said.
There are also six Florida constitutional amendments to decide on, two of which have been highly controversial. Amendment 4, known as the Hometown Democracy amendment, would require any changes to a comprehensive land use plan to be subject to voters. Amendment 8 would change the current law by increasing the number of students per class that one teacher can have.
“It’s a very long ballot,” Harrington said. “It’s two pages, front and back.”
Voters should look over every page to avoid missing any races, she said.
“People need to be very careful because the county court judge and school board race doesn’t show until after the Supreme Court judges and appellate judges,” she said. “We do have candidate races on all of the pages.”
Harrington also suggested that voters take their sample ballot with them to the polls that has their picks marked. For those who do not have a sample ballot, one can be found online at the Lee County Supervisor of Elections website: www.leeelections.com.
Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must be in line by 7 p.m. to cast a ballot. People should allow for enough time to vote because the long ballot could translate into everyone taking longer in the voting booth. A photo signature will be required to vote.
According to Harrington, those who have changed their address since the last election can call the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office to learn what their new polling precinct is. They also can stop by their old precinct and the poll workers on site should be able to tell them where to go.
To reach the Supervisor of Elections Office, call 533-6300.
Harrington reminds voters that the poll workers are available to answer questions and provide help, such as if they ruin their ballot by voting twice. If a voter requires assistance, they should get the attention of a poll worker.
“We just want them to make sure they don’t just leave it (the ballot) if they have a problem,” she said, adding that they want every vote to count. “They need to not be afraid to raise their hand.”
Elections officials have seen an increased turnout for the general election in terms of absentee and early voting compared to previous year. According to Harrington, there were 21,975 early voters and 29,540 absentee ballots for the 2006 general election.
As of Monday, there were 36,871 early voters for the 2010 general election and 42,612 absentee ballots had been counted, with more still remaining.
Harrington pointed out though that in the primary election, there was an increased number of absentee ballots and early voters, but hardly anyone showed on election day. She said about 23 percent turned out at the polls.
“I don’t know if this is going to be the same thing,” Harrington said. “This race is really, really hard to track.”