It’s that time of year. Qualifying for office is done and the slate of candidates is set. Vote by mail ballots will be in the mail soon.
While the electronic media has provided plenty of coverage of the Presidential race, that is not the only race worthy of your attention.
We believe that all politics begin with local elections. The selection of your local and regional representatives will impact your life and tax bill much more so than who sits in the Oval Office come next January.
The Island Sand Paper covers those local elections and as we tell candidates, we reach over 10,000 voters in Fort Myers Beach and south Lee County every week.
Here are the August 30th Primary elections of interest that we will cover in our paper: Lee County Commissioner, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, School Board, State House District 76 and State Senate District 27. There will be additional races on the ballot November 8th and we’ll cover them too, but first, let’s look at the primary on August 30th.
August 30th Ballot
All Island precinct ballots will include these races in August: Supervisor of Elections, School Board District 3 and at-large Districts 6 & 7. These are all non-partisan offices and everyone will vote for them. In these races, if the winner does not receive 50% + 1 vote, the top two will be on the November ballot.
In addition to the above non-partisan races, registered Republicans will weigh in on candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative for the 19th District, State Senate District 27, Lee County Commission District 3 & 5 and Lee County Sheriff.
Registered Democrats and Libertarians will have the non-partisan races plus the U.S. Senate on their ballot.
We have offered each candidate in the August local elections of interest the following opportunities: a candidate announcement and a guest opinion. In some races we will also offer a ‘Ask the Candidate’ question. We prefer to provide candidate’s opinions in their own words rather than filtered through a reporter.
All candidates have been provided a copy of our Campaign Policy. Readers are welcome to stop by our office and pick one up or email us and request a copy.
We invite readers to send letters supporting their candidate. We’ll accept one campaign letter per writer per candidate. Meaning you can tell us who you like for each office in separate letter, but you can’t send four letters telling us about the one candidate you support.
Letters must be sent to us by the author of the letter. Include a phone number for verification purposes. We don’t print it. We won’t accept letters from candidates or their families. Authors are responsible for the content of letters and should comply with our Submission Policy printed each week on the Editorial page. Your friends and neighbors do care who you support; let them know why by writing us! One last thing – any letters that raise new issues or attack any candidate will not be printed in the last issue before the primary (August 26, 2016).
We want our readers to know that we accept campaign ads. Like any ad, the content of the ad is the responsibility of the person or group placing the ad. We’ll make sure you know who is placing each ad. We accepted ads during the last campaign that, while complying with the law, did not include contact information for those who placed the ad. With the proliferation of political action committees, there are a lot of ads that show up in print and on radio/TV with no clue as to who placed it. We won’t accept an ad unless it includes a way to contact whoever placed it.
We don’t endorse candidates. This decision no doubt costs us each election cycle. Some candidates think if you don’t endorse them, you’re against them. Or they spend their advertising dollars with newspapers that do endorse in the hopes that will influence the endorsement. We’re not saying it does, but realize that suspicion is out there.
We believe that our readers are smart enough to weigh what candidates say and make their own decisions. Our campaign policy mirrors our news coverage policy. We believe that it’s our job to present our readers with as clear, accurate and unbiased information as we possibly can. Then it’s our readers’ job to make the hard decisions in the voting booth and we won’t presume to tell anyone how to vote in that booth.
For more information about registering to vote, changing your registration (deadline August 1) or what is on your ballot, visit www.lee.vote or call 239-LEE-VOTE.