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Do your homework; then cast your ballot
October 12, 2017

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On Wednesday, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office mailed approximately 25,497 vote-by-mail ballots in advance of the City of Cape Coral General Election. Additional requests will be filled as they come in through Nov. 1.

It is likely that the voters choosing this method to cast a ballot will determine who will fill the five Cape Coral City Council seats up for grabs in the Nov. 7 General Election.

Why do we say this?

Of the 14,899 residents who voted in the Oct. 3 Cape Coral City Council Primary, 11,112, or almost three-fourths, did so via mail.

And that was less than 40 percent of the 29,872 voters who requested mail ballots.

Mail ballots have become the method of choice, meaning candidates have to be a lot quicker off the mark to make their pitch to voters, many of whom are making their decisions well in advance of Election Day - or even early voting.

Voter convenience is certainly not a bad thing though the ease of casting a ballot from home has done little to boost turnout, an abysmal 12.98 percent in the Cape Council Primary.

If you requested a mail ballot for the General, we urge you to take the time to fill it out and return it.

One, with more than half the city council seats, including the mayor's race, to be decided Nov. 7, it's your only opportunity until 2019 to have a voice in who sets the Cape's tax rates and who determines where that money goes.

Two, mail ballots don't come cheap. Every one requested and not returned is an expense Cape taxpayers foot twice, once for the postage and processing and then again in the aftermath of voter apathy that can - and has - resulted in the election of candidates with small but fierce followings.

Sometimes that's worked out fine. Other times, well, as Thomas Jefferson pointed out, the government we elect is the government we deserve.

What Cape Coral deserves - indeed what Cape Coral needs - is the best government it can elect.

For that reason, we urge everyone with a mail ballot, everyone who intends to early vote Oct. 30 - Nov. 4, and everyone who likes to wait for Election Day to choose wisely.

If you've done your homework and are ready to fill in those five ovals, that's great.

If not, hang onto those mail ballots a bit.

Invest a little more time.

Attend the Political Mythbusters Candidates Forum sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, Cape Coral Civic Association, Cape Coral Construction Industry Association and the South Cape Industry Associations. They will team up next Wednesday, Oct. 18, with the forum set 5:30 p.m. to - 8:30 p.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, 5819 Driftwood Parkway.

Voters are invited to "see if your City Council and Mayoral Candidates can bust some of our political myths about the City of Cape Coral."

Attend the city-sponsored candidate Q&As set for 7 p.m. Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. If you can't go, catch the live stream at capecoral.net, watch on CapeTV or replay at your convenience.

Call the candidates, check out their web sites and literature and review news stories and candidate bios.

There are lots of options out there to help you pick the person you believe will best represent your interests - and the city's as a whole.

For easy access, The Breeze has grouped all of its election coverage, along with its issues-related candidate Questions of the Week online at cape-coral-daily-breeze.com . See page 10A of today's Breeze for the latest and look under News, Elections 2017 for the archives.

For those who are interested, or just curious, The Breeze also will be making candidate endorsements this election cycle in all five races.

These recommendations, which will include the reasons behind our choices, are scheduled to appear next Friday in the Oct. 20 edition of The Breeze.

We invite you to read.

We urge you to do your due diligence.

And, if the direction the city takes for the next four years is important to you, we strongly suggest that you vote.

An informed electorate that cares enough to cast a ballot is not only what Cape Coral deserves - it may be the cure for what ails us.

- Breeze editorial

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