by SC Reporter Crystal Tisme
The Nov. 8 election is right around the corner as many Lee County residents are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a powerful category four storm. But it remains important for residents to vote.
Sanibel residents will be voting for three Sanibel Public Library Commissioners, and those seats are being challenged. Robyn Cook, president of the League of Women Voters of Sanibel, said the island has consistently had high voting rates, no matter the situation.
“Voters must keep their eye on the calendar regardless of how focused they are with the Ian aftermath,” she said. “Today’s very polarized political environment requires every voter to cast their vote, regardless of partisan leaning. This is your chance to make your opinions count.”
The Sanibel Public Library District is an independent special district, a governmental entity with taxing authority, created by special act of the Florida Legislature and approved in 2005 by voters of Sanibel. The district is governed by a publicly elected seven-member Board of Commissioners.
Board members serve on a non-partisan basis and are elected for staggered four-year terms. They also serve without compensation. And this year, the three incumbents are running opposed:
Susan Holly, incumbent
Barbara Ruben, incumbents
Roy Gibson, incumbent
Cook said there has never been this many seats contested for the Sanibel Public Library Commissioners before. The LWV of Sanibel has put together a questionnaire for candidate responses, which can be found on Vote411.org. Enter your address then click “got to my races” under the Voter Guide then scroll down to Sanibel Public Library to read the Q&A.
There are several other important elections for residents in two weeks – Senator Marco Rubio, Rep., and Val Demings, Dem., as well as Governor Ron DeSantis, Rep., and Charlie Crist, Dem.
“The League of Women Voters make no endorsements,” said Cook, “as we are nonpartisan. What we recommend to voters is they do their homework, review the issues, where candidates stand, and vote.”
With most island residents displaced after Ian, usual voting precincts do not apply this election. There are 12 voting locations throughout the county where residents can vote regardless of their assigned precinct. These locations will be open for early voting, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 24 to Nov. 7 and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 8.
Bonita Springs – Elections Branch Office
25987 S Tamiami Trl, #105 Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Cape Coral – Elections Branch Office
1039 SE 9th Ave Cape Coral, FL 33990
Cape Coral ‐ Lee County Library 921 SW 39th Ter
Cape Coral, FL 33914
East County Regional Library
881 Gunnery Rd N Lehigh Acres, FL 33971
Estero Recreation Center
9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd Estero, FL 33928
Fort Myers Regional Library
Voting Room Address:
1651 Lee St, Fort Myers, FL 33901
2450 First St, Fort Myers, FL 33901
Lee County Elections Center
13180 S Cleveland Ave Fort Myers, FL 33907
North Fort Myers Recreation Center
2000 N Recreation Park Way North Fort Myers, FL 33903
Northwest Regional Library
519 Chiquita Blvd N Cape Coral, FL 33993
Schandler Hall Community Park – Suarez Hall
419 Royal Palm Park Rd., Fort Myers, FL 33905
Veterans Park Recreation Center
55 Homestead Rd S Lehigh Acres, FL 33936
Wa-ke Hatchee Recreation Center
16760 Bass Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33908
For a vote-by-mail ballot, the request must be mailed by 5 p.m. Oct. 29 and the deadline to return the ballot is 7 p.m. Nov. 8. If a displaced voter has an alternate address or in an area of the county not receiving mail, such as Sanibel and Captiva Islands, they must call to request a ballot. Contact the Lee County Elections Office at 239-533-8683 or visit lee.vote for a ballot.
It is suggested if voters are returning their ballot by mail to allow sufficient time for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the ballot.
SC Publisher Shannen Hayes contributed