Seven Candidates Qualify

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Town Council Election

The qualifying period for the March 17 Town Council election ended at noon, Friday, January 10, 2020. Seven candidates qualified to be on the ballot for the three seats up for election. Seats 3, 4 & 5 will go to the three candidates with the most votes when all votes are tallied.

Qualifying for the Town Council ballot are Dan Allers, James Atterholt, Robert Burandt, Bruce Butcher, Forest (Butch) Critser, David Drumm and Bill Veach. Butcher, vying for a second term, will be the only incumbent on the ballot, having entered the race just one day prior to the deadline. A candidate for Town Council must be a resident of the town, a registered voter and have lived within the town for at least one year prior to qualifying for election.

On the March 17 ballot, beach voters will also weigh in on two Town Charter amendments regarding town elections. One will ask if town elections should be moved from March to November to coincide with state and national elections. A second question on the ballot would extend council terms from three to four years, to keep local elections on the same schedule as state and national elections. If both are approved, the switch would save the Town about $15,000 each election cycle, according to Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle.

Voting

To vote in Fort Myers Beach elections on March 17, 2020, voters must be registered with the Lee County Elections Office by Tuesday, February 18, 2020. Town elections are non-partisan. For more information, see lee.vote

While Fort Myers Beach Town Council elections do not usually have Early Voting, this election will as it’s being held on the same day as the Presidential Preference Primary. Early Voting begins Saturday, March 7, 2020 and ends Saturday March 14, 2020, with Early Voting locations open each day from 10am – 6pm. The Lee County Elections office maintains ten Early Voting locations, the two closest being the Lee County Elections Center, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers and the Lee County Elections Bonita Springs Branch Office, 25987 S. Tamiami Trail; #105, Bonita Springs. Other locations are available at lee.vote under Election Information.

Council-Candidates-Election-Fort-Myers-Beach-2020To request a Vote-by-Mail ballot, call the Lee Elections office at 239-533-8683, visit lee.vote or email votebymail@lee.vote. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward vote-by-mail ballots. If you wish your ballot to go to an address other than your voter record mailing address, you must request it in writing. If planning to vote by mail, update your signature on your voter record to ensure that your vote is counted. To update your signature or request your ballot be mailed to a new address, call the Lee Elections office for instructions, 239-LEE-VOTE.

The Presidential Preference Primary Election will be held on March 17 also. Florida is a closed primary state, so you must be registered as a party member prior to February 18 to vote in the primary.

Who Are the Candidates?

To assist local voters in learning more about the candidates, The Island Sand Paper offers free space to all candidates on the ballot so they can share their backgrounds, ideas and priorities for our town in their own words.

We offer each candidate the chance to announce their candidacy in any Sand Paper issue up to January 24. In February, we will submit several questions to candidates. These ‘Ask the Candidate’ questions will allow each candidate to answer in their own words. We will also cover candidate forums that all candidates have been invited to attend. Finally, we provide each candidate the opportunity to provide one Guest Opinion that will be printed between February 7 and March 6. Each candidate is provided with the Sand Paper Campaign Policy which includes these opportunities along with word count limits and deadlines.

Letters

Letters of support for candidates are welcome from our readers. See our Submissions Policy printed each week in the paper. We will accept one campaign letter per candidate per writer. We urge writers to focus on why they support a candidate and not what’s wrong with other candidates. Be positive. Letters that appear to be the result of a letter-writing campaign won’t be printed. Letters raising new issues or criticizing a candidate will not be printed in the last issue prior to the election. Letters from candidates or their families will not be published on any subject after they have qualified.

We offer every candidate the same opportunities to appear in The Sand Paper, providing they follow the guidelines in our Campaign Policy. Copies of that policy are available in our office or by request to editor@fortmyersbeach.news.