Ballots begin to go out for municipal primary
Voters who prefer to participate in elections through the mail-in ballot method continues to grow across the region.
That is particularly true in Cape Coral as the September Primary Election approaches. Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle reports his office mailed more than 29,000 vote-by-mail ballots to registered voters in Cape Coral this week.
“By comparison, 4,000 ballots were mailed to voters in 2013,” said Doyle. “That’s an increase of 700 percent.”
Voters have until Sept. 6, six days before the primary, to request a vote-by-mail ballot sent to them through the mail in time to vote in the city election set for Sept. 12. To request a mail-in ballot, call the elections office at 239-533-8683, send an email to email@example.com, or visit www.lee.vote.
Ballots must be mailed back to the Supervisor of Elections office before election day, or hand delivered to the Cape Coral elections branch office, or the Lee Election Center across from the Bell Tower Shops on Cleveland Avenue.
“Everything is going smoothly,” said Doyle. “Some things I expected, some things I did not. There’s a lot more to learn, especially about election laws, but the management part and the financial part I know because it’s what I do.”
For the upcoming city Primary Election, only the races for Mayor and the District 1 and 4 City Council seats appear on the ballot because there are more than two candidates in each race. The two candidates in each race who draw the most votes advance to the General Election on Nov. 7. Only two candidates each are running for the District 5 and 6 seats and go directly on the General Election ballot.
Mayor and council offices are elected citywide and are non-partisan, meaning all registered voters may vote in all races regardless of party affiliation and the district in which the voter resides.
The seven candidates for Mayor include council member Rana Erbrick, Joe Coviello, Derrick Donnell, Michael Hollow, Kevin Koch, April Freeman and Daniel Sheppard.
Graham Morris, John Gunter and James Foraker are running for the District 1 council seat.
Jeffrey Jones and Jennifer Nelson are challenging incumbent Richard Leon in District 4.
Erbrick had to vacate her council seat with two years left in her term to run for Mayor and incumbent Jim Burch withdrew as a candidate in District 1. Mayor Marni Sawicki is also not seeking re-election.
Precinct workers begin training for their election day duties on Aug. 22. About the same time, the precinct voting machines will be tested ahead of election day as well as the vote tabulating machines to make sure everything is in order.
“Technology is changing so fast I don’t want to make any purchases right now,” said Doyle. “I just want to maintain what we have until something more fantastic comes along.”
This is the second election Doyle has supervised since he was elected last fall replacing Sharon Harrington. Only Cape Coral and Fort Myers have primary municipal elections on Sept. 12. Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel held elections in February.
For this Primary Election, there are five days of early voting on Sept. 5-9, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at two locations – the Cape Coral Public Library, 921 SW 39th Terrace, and the Supervisor of Elections branch office, 1039 SE 9th Ave.
There will be 30 precinct polling places open (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) throughout the city on Sept. 12. To find your polling location, contact the Lee County Elections Office at 239-533-8683, or visit www.lee.vote.
For voters who want to hand deliver his or her mail-in ballot on election day, the following is available:
Cape Coral Branch Office (Lee County Government Center, 1039 SE 9th Ave.) will accept vote-by-mail ballots until 3 p.m. election day.
Election Center (across from Bell Tower Shops and behind Robb & Stucky, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave.) will accept vote-by-mail ballots until 5 p.m. election day.
Main Office (Constitutional Complex, 2480 Thompson St., 3rd floor) vote-by-mail ballots must be delivered prior to 7 p.m. election day (no exceptions).
For more information about elections, candidates, voter registration, early voting, vote-by-mail requests, precinct locations, poll workers, and outreach events, visit the website www.lee.vote or call 239-LEE-VOTE (533-8683).