Editor's Note: The print edition of this story contains some errors of fact. Those errors have been corrected in the updated on-line version below. The Citizen regrets the errors and any confusion to our readers.
Lehigh Acres voters will visit the polls next Tuesday to vote in this year's Primary Election, one that chooses candidates for the General Election in November but also, on the local level, will decide some races.
Close to home on the ballot for Lehigh voters is the state representative's race in District 79.
PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN
The District 79 map for state representative.
Incumbent State Rep. Matt Caldwell is running against Matt Miller. Both are Republicans. Since there is no opposition, this is a "universal primary," meaning all voters in the district, regardless of party, will find that race on their Aug. 26 ballots.
There also is a "universal primary" in the District 30 state Senate District.
State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, faces Michael Dreikorn, of Bokeelia, in the August primary. As both are Republicans, and there is no other opposition in November, all voters in the district can cast a ballot. Benacquisto is the current Republican majority leader.
What: Early voting for
Aug. 26 primary election
When: Aug. 16-23
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 11 polling locations
Information: 239-LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or www.leeelections.com
* * *
Polling locations for
* Bonita Springs Elections Office, 25987 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 105, Bonita Springs
* Cape Coral Elections Office, 1031 S.E. Ninth Place, Suite 3, Cape Coral
* Cape Coral Public Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace, Cape Coral
* East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Road, Lehigh Acres
* Estero Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero
* Lee County Elections Center, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave.,
* North Fort Myers Recreation Center, 2021 N. Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers
* Northwest Regional Library, 519 N. Chiquita Blvd., Cape Coral
* Rutenberg Park
and Recreation Facility,
6490 S. Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers
* Terry Park, 3406 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers
* Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 S. Homestead Road, Lehigh Acres
Source: Lee County Elections Office
The election may be confusing for some this year who are looking to vote for local candidates at the federal level. For one thing, due to redistricting, Lehigh finds itself cut in half with two U.S. Congressional districts - District 17 and District 19. For the other, neither race is on the ballot this month but, instead, will be decided in November.
The 17th Congressional District's incumbent, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, is not on the ballot because he is unopposed in the primary. He will face Will Bronson, a Democrat from Lehigh Acres, in the Nov. 4 General Election.
The line dividing the two congressional districts is generally drawn through Lehigh along Lee Boulevard, Leeland Heights, and Joel Boulevard. Voters who live north of that general boundary are members of the 17th Congressional District.
On the south side of that boundary, is the 19th Congressional District where incumbent U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, has no opposition in the primary. He won the seat just a few months ago in a special election after former congressman Trey Radel resigned following a drug-related arrest.
Clawson faces Democrat April Freeman, of Cape Coral; Libertarian Ray Netherwood, of Marco Island; and write-in Timothy J. Rossano, of Fort Myers, in November.
Both U.S. Congressional Districts, 17 and 19, occupy a small part of Lehigh and on district maps, are shown at the tips of the districts.
Lehigh voters won't find any candidates in the primary for either the East County Water Control District or the Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District. The ECWCD member seats that were open had no opposition and only one candidate is running for a seat on the fire board. That race will be on the November ballot, the same ballot that will ask Lehigh voters to favor assessment fees to fund the fire department instead of ad valorem taxes. As for the ECWCD seats, incumbents Dave Deetscreek and Mike Bonacolta had no opposition.
On the county level, there also will be a number of key races:
* Lee County Commission, District 2
Incumbent Cecil L. Pendergrass will fight to retain his seat against opponent Paige Rausch. Both are Republicans. It is a "universal primary" as there are no other challengers, so the top vote-getter will claim the seat.
All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County Commission, District 4
Incumbent Brian Hamman will seek to win the Republican Party's nomination against two opponents, Andy Coy and Sawyer C. Smith. Only Lee County voters registered as Republican can cast a ballot.
The winner of the primary will face Democrat Debbie Jordan in the Nov. 4 General Election.
* Lee County School Board, District 1
Incumbent Mary Fischer and opponent Marilyn Stout will face off in the Aug. 26 Primary Election. Because it is a non-partisan race, the candidate who earns the most votes will win the seat. All of the registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot in the race, regardless of their political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County School Board, District 4
Incumbent Don H. Armstrong will seek to retain his seat against opponents Arvella Clare, Richard L. Dunmire and Steve Teuber. As a non-partisan race with more than two candidates, the top two vote-getters will move forward to the General Election on Nov. 4. The winner in November scores the seat. All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County School Board, District 5
Pam LaRiviere and Carla Ronco will go up against each other. The District 5 seat is currently being held by Thomas Scott; he is not seeking re-election. The winner in the primary will win the seat. All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.
Early voting continues through Saturday at 11 sites throughout Lee County. In Lehigh, the early voting sites are the Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 S. Homestead Road and the East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Road. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Aug. 23 at all sites.
If you don't know where you are supposed to vote on election day, you can check your voters registration card, call the Board of Election Supervisors, or go online to find your precinct location. Many have voted already via ballots and early voting has also drawn many to sites in Lehigh.
If you vote by mail, completed ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election. Be sure to place your marked ballot in the enclosed Secrecy Sleeve and insert that into the mailing envelope which is addressed to the supervisor.
For your mail ballot to be counted, you must sign your name on the line above (Voter's Signature) on the return envelope. The enveloped to mail your ballot in requires no postage.