Primary Election Tuesday; early voting to wrap up
Early voting in advance of Tuesday’s Primary Election has been going very slow, according to the Elections Office, which says that’s similar to previous years.
“I think we’ve got a total of 6,000 voters who have voted early,” Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle said Wednesday afternoon.
As of late Thursday, lee.vote reported 7,927 votes cast via early voting at the polls. Another 66,217 ballots had been received by mail, for a total turnout thus far of just shy of 17 percent.
Early voting continues today and Saturday, which Doyle predicts will be a strong day.
In Cape Coral, early voting locations include Cape Coral Elections Office, 1039 S.E. 9th Avenue, Cape Coral Lee County Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace and Northwest Regional Library, 519 Chiquita Boulevard, North. The polls are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day during early voting.
As of Thursday afternoon, 20,591 Democrats had voted as had 44,726 Republicans, 8,647 of no party affiliation and 189 “other” voters of the 436,915 active registered voters.
The mail-in ballots, which can be turned in until 7 p.m. Election Day, have received a good response. Doyle said they had already received 50 percent, or 63,653, of the requested mail-in ballots as of Wednesday.
“That is pretty good for a Primary,” Doyle said, adding that they probably have more vote-by- mail returns than any county in the state of Florida.
“We pay for postage return,” he said.
One hundred and twenty-seven polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 28.
“During the week people are working, so they don’t want to stop and vote. People are worried about making a living and taking care of their families,” Doyle said.
He said the school board races don’t seem to be drawing voter interest.
“There are 130,000 registered NPAs (No Party Affiliation). The only thing they have to vote for is school board,” Doyle said, adding that some are voting.
There are four school board seats on the Primary Election ballot with a total candidate field of 15.
Three of the non-partisan races – those for Districts 1, 4 and 5 – are limited to voters registered within the district.
All voters, regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live, can cast a ballot in District 6 where candidates are running “at large,” or countywide.
The relatively new format went into effect two years ago after voters passed an amendment that changed the five-member, all-elected-at-large board into a seven-member board with five elected within their district and two elected district wide.
The new seven-member board still makes decisions, and sets policy for, all schools within the School District of Lee County.
There are four candidates running in at-large District 6; two candidates in District 1, which will be decided Aug. 28; four candidates in District 4; and five in District 5, which is mostly Lehigh Acres.
Voters residing in parts of Cape Coral, Pine Island and Sanibel, regardless of their party affiliation, can vote for a District 1 candidate.
Voters residing in parts of Cape Coral, North Fort Myers and Dunbar, regardless of their party affiliation, can cast their vote for District 4 school board candidate.
Doyle predicts that voter turnout will hit between 20-21 percent turnout for the Aug, 28 Primary. In 2014, the Primary Election had a 21 percent turnout of voters.
“Normally we’ve been having about 10,000 people vote on Election Day,” Doyle said.
The local races on the Primary ballot include:
** County-wide Republican primary races (only Republicans may vote on the contests):
* United States Senator: Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente and Rick Scott
* Governor and Lieutenant Governor: Don Baldauf; Ron DeSantis; Timothy M. Devine; Bob Langford; John Joseph Mercadante; Bruce Nathan; Adam H. Putnam and Bob White
* Attorney General Fiscal General: Ashley Moody and Frank White
* Commissioner of Agriculture: Matt Caldwell; Denise Grimsley; Mike McCalister and Baxter Troutman
* State Attorney 20th Judicial Circuit: Chris Crowley and Amira Fox
* * District-only primaries
* Representative in Congress District 17 (Only Republicans residing in District 17 may vote) Bill Akins; Julio Gonzalez and Greg Steube
* State Representative District 79 (only Republicans residing in District 79 may vote) Matthew Shawn Miller and Spencer Roach
** County-wide Democratic Primary races (only Democrats may vote):
* Governor and Lieutenant Governor: Andrew Gillum; Gwen Graham; Jeff Greene; Chris King; Philip Levine; Alex “Lundy” Lundmark and John Wetherbee
* Attorney General Fiscal General: Sean Shaw and Ryan Torrens
* Commissioner of Agriculture: Nicole “Nikki” Fried; Jeffrey Duane Porter and Roy David Walker
* * District-only primaries
* Representative in Congress District 19 (Only Democrats residing in District 19 can vote): David Holden and Todd James Truax
* Representative in Congress District 17 (only Democrats residing in District 17 may vote) April Freeman and Bill Pollard
* State Representative District 76 (Only Democrats residing in District 76 can vote): Neilson Croll Ayers and David Bogner
** County-wide, all voters regardless of party affiliation:
* Circuit Judge 20th Judicial Circuit Group 8: James Wesley Chandler and John Owen McGowan
* County Judge Group 7: Maria E. Gonzalez and David McElrath
* School Board Member District 6 (at large; everyone votes): Nicholas Alexander; Lori Fayhee; Betsy Vaughn and Karen Putman Watson
** School Board races, non-partisan, district voters only
* School Board Member District 1, (Only voters residing in District 1, mostly Cape Coral, Pine Island and Sanibel; regardless of party affiliation): Charles B. Dailey and Mary Fischer
* School Board Member District 4, (Only voters residing in District 4, mostly Cape Coral, North Fort Myers and Dunbar, regardless of party affiliation:) Don H. Armstrong; Debbie Jordan; Louis Navarra and Geraldine “Gerri” Ware
* School Board Member District 5, (Only voters residing in District 5, mostly Lehigh Acres, regardless of party affiliation): Gwynetta “Gwyn” Gittens; Moses Jackson; Pamela LaRiviere; Taruas Pugh and Jon Larsen Shudlick