On the Scene: Estero


At precinct 132 in Lee County this Election Day, the pressing local issue was clear: flooding.

The displacement of several hundred people in Bonita Springs following a tropical storm -- and efforts to help them -- had taken center stage at Estero Community Park.

The temporary sign noting that the park had become a center for disaster services overshadowed the smaller signs promoting county commission and school board candidates.

The Salvation Army truck at the side of the building and the crowd of people around it was more obvious than the "Vote Here" signs which polling place volunteers decided to push farther out into the parking lot to attract more notice.

Voters entering the park's community center were a trickle compared to the volunteers and professionals with local churches, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army who were trying to make life comfortable for the families who were staying in the park's gymnasium.

Jack Pollock, an Estero resident who was running operations at the polling place, said

He added that for those who showed up to vote, the new voting procedures hadn't caused confusion.

"It's been good. We haven't had a lot of people complaining," he said. "Even I could vote."

Then again, there hadn't been a lot of voters coming by. By about 11:30 a.m., Pollock had counted 63 .

He attributed some of that low turnout to early voting -- which began Aug. 11 -- and the availability of absentee ballots.

"All the snowbirds are doing absentee," he said.

Voters came and went a similarly slow pace at other precincts in Estero.

A few voters noted their support for the incumbent in the Lee County Sheriff's race, Mike Scott, but the local races did not appear to be drawing strong feelings.

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