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Early voting for city election begins Monday

By Staff | Oct 23, 2015

Voters looking to beat any Election Day lines can cast their ballot early starting on Monday.

Early voting for the Nov. 3 general election begins next week and runs through Saturday, Oct. 31.

A total of four polling sites in Cape Coral and Fort Myers will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those who decide to take advantage of early voting may visit any of the four polling locations.

Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington explained that a schedule conflict can arise at work or at home on Election Day, but voting early ensures that one gets a chance to cast a ballot.

“It’s always better to go just ahead and just do it ahead of time and not worry about missing it altogether,” she said on Thursday. “When you get down to Election Day – that’s your last shot.”

Harrington noted that it is hard to predict what kind of early voting turnout Lee County will see with the general election, as early voting turnouts at municipal elections nationwide are very low lately.

“But it’s kind of dangerous because these are the people you have more contact with,” she said, referring to local elected officials, as compared to state and national representatives.

Officials are hoping, however, for a high turnout.

“If we could get up to 30 percent, it would be a lot bigger than it has been in the last couple years,” Harrington said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Lee County Elections Office had received over 8,500 mail ballots from the precincts in the Cape. Including Fort Myers, a total of nearly 12,000 ballots had been received.

Fort Myers also has a municipal election going on.

“About 30 percent of what we’ve mailed out has already been mailed back to us,” she said.

Voters have until Wednesday to request a mail ballot if they want to vote from home.

“Don’t wait too long,” Harrington said of requesting one.

Voters simply fill out the ballot and drop it in the mail; no return postage is necessary.

“We pay the postage, so they don’t have to worry about that,” she said.

Officials reminded voters to sign the envelope.

“We have so many people who don’t sign the back of that envelope,” Harrington said, adding that ballots returned in unsigned envelopes will not be counted.

Mail ballots must be received at the Lee County Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

Those who received a mail ballot can still vote in-person if they want to.

“Take the whole packet – everything that was mailed to them – and surrender it when they go into the polls,” she said.

The general election will be held on Nov. 3, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone who needs to change their mailing address should contact the Elections Office.

For more information or the list of polling locations available for early voting, call the Lee County Elections Office at (239) LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or visit the website at: www.leeelections.com.

To request a mail ballot, contact the Elections Office.

“It’s so important for people to get excited about their local elections,” Harrington said.

For example, a pothole on your street is a local issue for local representatives.

“These people are extremely important,” she said.

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

The following are the races listed on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election:

Cape Coral City Council

District 2

* John Carioscia (incumbent)

* Kirk Lagrasta

Cape Coral City Council

District 3

* Chris L. Cammarota

* Marilyn Stout

Cape Coral City Council

District 7

* Timothy Barrier

* Jessica Cosden

In addition to the three city council races, the Cape Coral ballot will include seven proposed charter amendments.