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Cape Coral voters head to the polls

By Staff | Nov 7, 2011

Today marks the arrival of Cape Coral’s general election and voters will be asked to support not only four city council candidates but three amendments to the city’s charter.

Early voting results showed that more people decided to endorse candidates than they did during the early voting period for the primary election in September.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections reported that 3,836 Cape voters have cast their ballots, 928 more than did so during the early period in September.

Although the city showed an increase during voter turnout, Harrington didn’t offer an opinion on whether it would carry over to the general election. Only 11 percent of all registered voters cast ballots during the primary election.

“Sometimes we think we have good turnout in the primary, that it means the polls would be equally busy during the general election and they weren’t,” Harrington said. “The general trend seems to be voting early and not showing up to the polls on election day.”

Of the 5,268 absentee ballots mailed, 2,682 have been returned to the Election Office in Fort Myers.

Absentee ballots will have to be hand delivered to that office by 7 p.m. today if not mailed in time.

Harrington did say that unless elections have national implications, voters don’t seem to make it to the polls.

She added that local elections are often more critical than national elections.

“As a citizen in a municipality, they are a lot closer to their elected officials and have a better chance of contacting those representatives and having access to that person,” she said. “The further out they are from those elected offices the less of a chance they have to contact them directly.”

Candidates for the four council seats are:

– Incumbent Pete Brandt and challenger John Carioscia in District 2.

– Incumbent Bill Deile and challenger Lenny Nesta in District 3.

– Rana Erbrick and William “Scott” Morris in District 5 (no incumbent).

– Incumbent Dr. Derrick Donnell and challenger David Stokes in District 7.

All council seats are elected at large. Voters are able to vote for the candidates of their choice, regardless of the district in which they live.

Voters will also be asked to decide on three separate amendments to the city’s charter, the document which governs the city and is sometimes referred to as the city’s constitution.

Those proposed charter amendments include:

– Allow city council members to establish personnel standards without recommendation of the city manager.

– Allows city council members to deal with city employees directly regarding inquiries and investigations.

– Altering amount to be paid upon termination of assistant managers and department heads. This would change the amount of severance pay for at will employees from four months to up to four months.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. For questions, contact the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office at 533-VOTE.