On Tuesday, the arguably most intense election campaign in recent Fort Myers Beach Town Council history will come to a close. By Tuesday night we should know who will fill two seats on the Council. While we will all be relieved to have this campaign behind us, we may not all be happy with the results, but at least the decision will be made.
More voters will need to go to the polls than usual this election day, March 5, 2019 as we’ve heard from several regular Vote-by-Mail voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail and subsequently learned that their previous request for a Vote-by-Mail ballot had expired. It’s too late now to request one for this election, so voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail will need to go to their polling place on Tuesday. Not sure where your polling place is? Go to lee.vote and click on “Where Do I Vote?” on the right-hand side of the page. Or call 239-LEE-VOTE. Polls are open 7am-7pm.
The talk this election is all about some Political Action Committee flyers. The angry reactions to those flyers, which included quotes taken from the pages of the Island Sand Paper, are a bit mystifying. What we saw were quotes plus conclusions that not everyone would agree with. Pretty standard PAC stuff. Why should our community be immune to PAC’s? Beach voters have received plenty of PAC flyers in previous county, state and national elections. The surprise & horror we’ve seen at receiving a PAC flyer in a FMB election seems a bit contrived. Especially when many of us have read much worse in social media posts and widely-circulated, not-quite-private, email chains. We’ve found outright falsehoods in some of those, yet haven’t seen any reaction decrying those as bad for our small town. Maybe the level of surprise is tied to who you support in this election.
Contested elections are the perfect example of our representative democracy. We elect people to represent us. As Senators, Congress people, President, Governor, all the way down to our hyper-local level – as Board members on our Library Board, Fire Board, Mosquito Control Board and Town Council.
Our voter turnout reflects national trends. Lots of people turn out to vote for President and Governor. Not as many for Town Council, not even in hotly contested elections, like the March 5 election.
Why is that?
Taxes usually draw a lot of attention. Yet, the boards that set ad valorem property taxes, the biggest chunk of taxes in our (state) income-tax-free state, are local boards. Those elections should draw the biggest turnouts, but they don’t.
We don’t endorse candidates. Our Campaign Policy is designed to provide candidates, regardless of their financial situation, with the opportunity to share their views with our readers because we believe that our role is to help inform our readers and then let them decide who to vote for.
We encourage all Fort Myers Beach voters to get to the polls on Tuesday, March 5. While we are not electing a majority of seats, this election can very well change the balance of council significantly.