We gotta hand it to you, Beach voters, you are into this election!
A little while ago, we mentioned that the average turnout for the last handful of elections was 25% total — mail, early voting and Election Day. We are ahead of that already. As of Wednesday evening, 25.5% of beach voters had already voted just by early voting and mail!
If you have a mail-in ballot, mail it! Have to work or travel on Election Day? Early voting is available through Saturday, March 12th at ten locations, the closest ones across from Bell Tower Shops or in Bonita Springs. Call 239- LEE-VOTE for more information. Otherwise show up at the polls Tuesday and vote. With this many voters already casting their ballots, we doubt there will be any long lines to deal with on Election Day. No excuses, get out and vote!
Beach voters know they are choosing two Town Council members AND voting on 21 Town Charter referendum questions. We’ve asked three Ask the Candidate questions, offered candidates guest op space, covered the referendum issues and four public candidate forums. If you’re a regular reader of the Island Sand Paper, you know where the council candidates stand and what those 21 charter referendum questions are all about.
In some ways this has been a longer campaign season than usual, with a record number of candidate forums and a larger than usual slate of candidates. All of the candidates are to be commended for their commitment of time and energy to this campaign. Whoever the winners are next Tuesday, we expect that they will represent Islanders to the best of their ability. Now let’s vote and get back to the normal flow of Island life!
This newspaper is wholly supported by advertising. Ads are pretty important to us. Without ads, we wouldn’t be able to pay the printing bills, payroll, rent or keep the lights on. Our advertisers want to be in the Sand Paper because people want to read the Sand Paper and when they do they’ll see their ad. We think people want to read the paper because we work hard to provide a wide range of interesting content, covering local issues with a fair hand.
When we sell an ad, the advertiser determines what to put in their ad, how to phrase their ad, what photos to use and how best to present their message to our readers. Whether they’re promoting boat tours, financial services, swimsuits or happy hour, the space is theirs to do with as they wish. We sell space.
During elections, candidates are free to purchase ads and some do. We don’t tell them what they can and cannot put in their ads. In the past, candidates have used ads to make accusations regarding other candidates or portray their opponent’s statements, positions or history in an unflattering light. These ads may make us a bit uncomfortable, but they are not ours to approve or not. We sell the space, the advertiser fills it. While we do retain the right to refuse any ad, to refuse a political ad, as we’ve been urged to do this week, seems somehow un-American. The fact is that politics is not for the faint-hearted or thin-skinned, not even here on our Island. This should come as no surprise seeing as how aggressive national politics has become.
We should add a reminder here that views expressed by advertisers do not necessarily reflect those of the management of the Island Sand Paper, just as the views expressed by writers of letters and guest commentaries are theirs alone. We serve as a community forum, where all views are welcome, whether we agree with them or not.
Speaking of letters…wow, have we got mail!! We’ve received and printed a record number of letters in the last month, many of them election related. We have made room for all the letters because we know that our readers want to hear what other Islanders have to say. And so do we. We accept letters via email, our website, snail mail and hand delivery. We get letters on the back of envelopes, on torn pieces of note paper and occasionally someone will write one on the fly on the bench in front of our office with a borrowed pen and notepad.
Even though we ask writers to say what they want to share in under 300 words, many are longer. That word limit allows us to print the widest variety of Island voices each week and that is what our readers want. While we do occasionally, use a longer letter as a Guest Commentary, those decisions are based on available space, reader interest and how much has already been said on the topic. In the interest of fairness, we try to balance commentaries on controversial topics. We can tell readers that we’ve run a total of six guest commentaries regarding the Grand Resorts FMB plan – three pro and three con. For a project that hasn’t even submitted an application yet, we think that’s plenty – for now.
So keep those letters coming and come back next week to see what your neighbors are talking about.
Missy & Bob Layfield