Voters looking to beat the Election Day lines can cast a ballot early starting Saturday.
Early voting for the Aug. 26 primary election will kick off this weekend and run through Aug. 23. Eleven polling sites located throughout Lee County will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"We will be open on that Sunday as well - on the 17th (of August)," Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said. "They have to go to one of the sites listed."
Those who take advantage of early voting can visit any of the designated polling locations.
"They still need to bring a photo ID," she said.
Early voters who requested a mail ballot should also have their ballot on hand.
What: Early voting for
Aug. 26 primary election
When: Aug. 16-23
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 11 polling locations
Information: 239-LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or www.leeelections.com
* * *
Polling locations for
* Bonita Springs Elections Office, 25987 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 105, Bonita Springs
* Cape Coral Elections Office, 1031 S.E. Ninth Place, Suite 3, Cape Coral
* Cape Coral Public Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace, Cape Coral
* East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Road, Lehigh Acres
* Estero Recreation Center, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., Estero
* Lee County Elections Center, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave.,
n North Fort Myers Recreation Center, 2021 N. Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers
* Northwest Regional Library, 519 N. Chiquita Blvd., Cape Coral
* Rutenberg Park
and Recreation Facility,
6490 S. Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers
* Terry Park, 3406 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers
* Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 S. Homestead Road, Lehigh Acres
Source: Lee County Elections Office
"They have to bring it with them and surrender them," Harrington said.
It takes longer to process an electronic ballot if a voter does not turn over their mail ballot.
"It just makes it easier," she said of surrendering the ballot to vote in person.
Voters who did not request a mail ballot should expect to receive a sample ballot in the mail.
"We also have sample ballots going out to every voter," Harrington said, adding that a sample ballot will go to each individual this time as compared to one ballot per household. "It is very generic."
Those who would like a mail ballot can request one up through Wednesday.
As of Thursday, the Lee County Elections Office had mailed out 95,620, with 46,819 returned.
"So, there's still a little bit of over half of them out there," she said. "So if you have a ballot, fill it out and mail it in. Don't wait until the last minute."
Mail ballots must be received at the Lee County Elections Office by 7 p.m. Aug. 23.
"It's very important for them to read the instructions that we provide with it," Harrington said.
"They must sign the back of the envelope that they put the ballot in to mail it," she added. "Power of attorney is not permitted for signing mail ballots."
If time allows for it, voters will be notified if their envelope is received unsigned.
The ballots also must be placed in the designated envelopes that they come with. Harrington explained, for example, that a husband cannot put his mail ballot into his wife's envelope and vice versa.
"We do pay the postage on the return envelopes," she said. "It is already paid for."
Harrington pointed out that there is some race in the primary for everyone.
"We have a lot of things that are going to be on the ballot for Republicans and Democrats," she said.
All voters can cast a ballot in the non-partisan races, regardless of their registered party affiliation. Some will be decided in the primary, so they will not be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
As of Thursday, there were 401,347 registered voters in Lee County. A total of 170,088 are registered as Republican and 114,688 are registered as Democrat, while 94,226 have no party affiliation.
For more information or the list of polling locations available for early voting, call the Lee County Elections Office at (239) LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or visit the website at: www.leeelections.com.
"If somebody has moved, it is very important that they get that information to us," Harrington added.
The following are some of the races listed on the ballot for the Aug. 26 primary election:
* State Representative, District 77
Incumbent Dane Eagle will face off against three challengers - Terry Cramer, Brandon Ivey and Jim Roach - to try and win the Republican Party's nomination and move on to the Nov. 4 general election. Because it is a closed Republican-only primary, only voters registered as Republican can cast a ballot.
The primary election winner will go up against write-in candidate Jeremy Wood in November.
* State Senator, District 30
Incumbent Lizbeth Benacquisto will fight to retain her seat against opponent Michael J. Dreikorn. It is a universal primary as there are no other challengers, so the top vote-getter will take home the win.
All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation.
* Lee County Commission, District 2
Incumbent Cecil L. Pendergrass will fight to retain his seat against opponent Paige Rausch. It is a universal primary as there are no other challengers, so the top vote-getter will claim the seat.
All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County Commission, District 4
Incumbent Brian Hamman will seek to win the Republican Party's nomination against two opponents, Andy Coy and Sawyer C. Smith. Only Lee County voters registered as Republican can cast a ballot.
The winner of the primary will face Democrat Debbie Jordan in the Nov. 4 general election.
* Lee County School Board, District 1
Incumbent Mary Fischer and opponent Marilyn Stout will face off in the Aug. 26 primary election. Because it is a non-partisan race, the candidate who earns the most votes will win the seat. All of the registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot in the race, regardless of their political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County School Board, District 4
Incumbent Don H. Armstrong will seek to retain his seat against opponents Arvella Clare, Richard L. Dunmire and Steve Teuber. As a non-partisan race with more than two candidates, the top two vote-getters will move forward to the general election on Nov. 4. The winner in November scores the seat. All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Lee County School Board, District 5
Pam LaRiviere and Carla Ronco will go up against each other. The District 5 seat is currently being held by Thomas Scott; he is not seeking re-election. The winner in the primary will win the seat. All registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot, regardless of political affiliation or the district in which they live.