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Qualifying begins Monday for Cape Council candidates

By Staff | Jul 2, 2015

With four city council positions up for grabs this November with two open seats, incumbents and prospective candidates are gearing up in hope of sitting on the dais for four years.

Qualifying for all candidates in districts 2, 3, 5, and 7 begins on Monday at noon and continues until Friday at noon. All candidates must be continuous, full-time residents for the entire calendar year preceding their qualification for office and, although elected citywide, must reside in their respective districts.

“They’ve been able to announce their candidacy since the beginning of the year, but the actual facts, money, and so on is done next week,” said Kimberly Bruns, interim assistant city clerk.

The total fee to run for office is $292.71, which includes the filing fee of $100 plus the Election Assessment fee of 1 percent of the councilmember’s annual salary of $19,270.69.

By now, candidates should have declared their intentions, appointed a campaign treasurer and opened their campaign file with the city clerk’s office.

However, certain documents pertaining to a candidate’s campaign must be finalized and submitted to a candidate’s file during the qualifying period.

Candidates must pay the required fees and complete all necessary paperwork in the Office of the City Clerk next week to appear on the municipal ballot whether thay have been registered as “active” or not.

A financial disclosure form must also be completed, as well as showing your voter registration card. They must also declare what bank they’ll use as a depository, a statement of candidacy, the candidate oath and sign that they are familiar with the handbook, Bruns said.

The city has a packet prospective candidates can get with all the required forms and a checklist to help them be sure everything is in.

“There’s a handbook you can download from the website and it describes the forms you have to fill out. They can be filled out ahead of time, but need to be turned in during qualifying week,” Bruns said. “It’s not a complicated process.”

The primary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 15. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Early voting for the primary will be from Sept. 8 to 12 and for the general election from Oct. 26 to 31 at the Cape Coral Branch Office, 1031 S.E. 9th Place, No. 3, and the Cape Coral Library, 921 SW 39th Terrace.

For Cape Coral residents who are not registered to vote, the registration books will be closed on the 29th day before each election and will remain closed until after that election.

Primaries are open to everyone, as Cape Coral is a non-partisan city.

As of Thursday, the potential candidates in District 2 are: Michael Bogliole, John Carioscia (incumbent), Kirk Lagrasta, Richard Lee Repasky and Sean C. Snyder.

District 3 candidates are Chris Cammarota, Jerome Doviak and Marilyn Stout. The incumbent, Lenny Nesta, has said he will not seek another term. Nesta was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Incumbent Rana Erbrick is the only candidate listed as “active” in District 5.

Timothy Barrier, Jessica Cosden and Samuel Fisher are listed as active for District 7. The incumbent, Derrick Donnell, is termed out as the city charter only allows officials to serve two consecutive terms.

The list of candidates can be found on the city website, which is updated daily, or at the Lee County Elections Office site, leeelections.com .

“The act of becoming a candidate was easy. There were two forms I needed to fill out to create a file. There are more to fill out next week in order to qualify,” Cosden said. “Now, I need to create a campaign account with the bank and that’s a strict process.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be getting people out to vote. The numbers have dwindled in recent years with less than 8 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot during the 2013 primary and only 17.2 percent in the general election.

Eileyn Sobeck-Bador, who has a Facebook page Get Out and Vote: Moving the Cape Forward, said she takes the right to vote seriously and encourages people to become more involved in the process.

“People have fought for the right to vote, and my great-great-grandmother was a suffragette, so this is my personal thing. People did a lot of work to make sure we have this ability,” Sobeck-Bador said.

Officials are predicting the slew of charter revisions on the ballot may draw more voters to the polls for the municipal election.