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Early voting numbers up for council ballot

By Staff | Sep 10, 2011

Today marks the final day for early voting in this year’s Cape Coral City Primary Election.

Numbers so far have been improved over the Cape’s last municipal election in 2009, according to Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.

As of Friday afternoon, 2,286 people had cast their ballots. On the Friday before the final day of early voting in 2009, 1,400 people had voted, Harrington said.

As many as 3,000 are expected to have voted when the polls close today at 5 p.m.

“People are really wanting to get out there and voice their opinion,” she added.

Eighteen candidates are vying for four city council seats. Incumbents are are trying to retain their seats in Districts 2, 3 and 7. But the four-race field is packed mostly with political newcomers.

Only 18 percent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots in 2009, but early voting numbers could dictate that this year’s election will see a higher number of voters head to the polls.

It’s difficult to determine if that will happen at this stage but it’s a possibility, Harrington said, adding that 25 percent is considered “normal” voter turnout for municipalities similar in population to Cape Coral.

“I’m hoping the momentum were seeing in early voting will translate to the polls on Tuesday,” Harrington added.

Absentee ballots still can be mailed into the elections office, as long as they arrive before the closing of the polls on Tuesday, Sept 13.

About 2,900 absentee ballots were mailed out by Harrington and her staff.

This year’s primary has had an unusually high number of candidates, Harrington added.

“There’s a lot more people willing to come out and see what they can do for their city,” she said.

Early voting is available at 1031 SE 9th Pl #3, behind the Lee County building near city hall. Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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 in District 5.

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

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at precincts throughout the city Tuesday.

Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan, citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.

For more information visit leeelections.com.

Readers may also find candidate answers to issue-related questions on our website, cape-coral-daily-breeze.com under Elections 2011. This week’s question also appears in today’s paper on page 8A.