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Early voting opens today

By Staff | Sep 3, 2011

Early voting for the Cape Coral municipal primary election begins today and is open to all registered Cape Coral voters regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live.

Voters are being encouraged to get to the polls by Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington, who said that only voters can make a difference.

Municipal elections give residents the opportunity to make the type of political decisions they can see and feel.

“It is so important for people who live in a city to take an interest in who is governing that city. The farther away you get from your home, the less impact you’re going to have on issues,” Harrington said. “City elections are critical. If you don’t like who’s sitting there, this is how you remove them.”

It’s also the way voters can retain those officials they believe are doing a good job.

Early voting runs today, Sept. 3, through Saturday, Sept. 10. Early voting will not be held on Sunday, Sept. 4, and Labor Day.

Hours for early voting are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The only early voting location in Cape Coral is at1031 S.E. 9th Pl #3, behind the Lee County building near city hall.

Voters also have the opportunity to send in absentee ballots, but Harrington said that ballots must be physically in the election office by 7 p.m. on election night, Tuesday, Sept 13.

The Supervisor of Elections said her office has sent out around 2,900 absentee ballots so far and has received roughly 500 back. Harrington believes more will come in next week.

Twenty-five percent voter turnout is considered “normal,” according to Harrington, for primary elections.

She hopes Cape Coral will hit that mark or better.

“I would like to think it will be up there; it’s been a roller coaster ride for the last few weeks,” Harrington said. “There are so many candidates vying for the seats.”

Harrington called all elections “recall elections” in a sense, because voters have the opportunity to repeal the incumbents for fresh faces.

“If something isn’t going the way they like, they need to vote,” she said.

The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary election will move on to the general election, according to Cape Coral City Clerk Rebecca van Deutekom.

“There is some confusion,” she said. “For us in the city of Cape Coral it’s the top two candidates that move on, it’s not based on percentages.”

The City Clerk said this is a record number of candidates for the city’s primary election.

There are four races, 18 candidates, total.

The candidates are:

* Incumbent Pete Brandt, John Carioscia, Sr., Joe Coviello and Dan Sheppard III in District 2.

* Incumbent Bill Deile, Leonard “Lenny” Nesta Jr. and Alan Sheppard in District 3.

* Carlos Alvarez, Bennie Barnes, Rana Erbrick, Richard Leon, James McManus, William “Scott” Morris and Charles Stanton in District 5. There is no incumbent running in District 5.

* Incumbent Dr. Derrick Donnell, Michael Garr, David Stokes and Erica Warren in District 7.

For more information contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 533-VOTE.