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Local voters’ priorities vary on election day

November 6, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen

For some, it was the seats up for grabs. For others, it was the plethora of proposed constitutional amendments. And for many, at least here in Lee County, it was the local tax initiatives on the ballot.

The reasons may have varied, but voters turned out in record mid-term numbers to cast a ballot in Tuesday's General Election.

At the Vineyard Community Church downtown, where voters in precincts 94 and 97 cast their ballots, voters had a varying viewpoint on their most important issues.

Donna Summerour said she didn't like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, saying he "wasn't a good person." She also came out to vote against the parks and schools tax referendums.

"They're always asking for more money and do we get anything better?" Summerour said. "We go to parks all the time and they're empty. There's nobody at Jaycee Park or Rotary Park, so let's take care of those."

Heath Wibbels, a school teacher, said the half-cent sales tax referendum was vital for the children in Lee County.

"We have so many students and if we don't pass it, our kids are at a loss," Wibbels said. "I voted for the park referendum (to) keep our parks looking good."

Chris Sincox said he didn't vote for much, as he didn't have enough information to make an informed decision. One thing he was passionate about was Amendment 4, giving many felons who had done their time their right to vote back.

"I know a lot of convicted felons and a lot of them have changed their ways, so I voted for that and for Amendment 6," Sincox said.

And just because a couple is married, it doesn't mean they have to agree on everything. That was the case with the half-cent sales tax for schools.

Mimi Wisnewski said she and her husband, Lee, agreed that they didn't like the amendments.

"They should do straightforward, yes or no, but they add other things to them, that I thought I would like until I read the fine print," Wisnewski said. "I don't think it's fair they put things on that have nothing to do with the issue."

Where they disagreed was the city of Cape Coral's $60 million GO Bond for parks, with Lee saying he didn't prefer the pay for things with bonds.

"I'm from New Jersey and we paid as we went. I like the idea, just not the bonds with the interest. There's plenty of money, just make it happen."

At the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, where Precinct 37 voters went in North Fort Myers, there was no GO Bond on the ballot, but there was the school district sales tax.

Ron Pilz said he voted against the sales tax, saying "until they get straight the money they have now, I am not going to give them any more."

Martell Gray said he was looking carefully at the gubernatorial race and Amendment 13, regarding dog track racing, and the sales tax.

"I liked dog racing years ago, but once I learned of the conditions they we kept in, that's cruelty," Gray said.

Betsy Pritchard said the most important issue was getting the waterways cleaned up.

"We need to clean these neighborhoods and make them more family-oriented places to go with sidewalks," Pritchard said, adding she considered the sales-tax carefully, but declined to disclose how she voted.

And there are just those who came to the polls for their civic duty, such as Susan Miller.

"There are things I want changed in the state and here locally. I do a lot of preparation online and read through all the amendments. They are hard to understand, but when you do your research, they're easier to understand," Miller said.



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