Estero Election Track Record and Capabilities
Growth and Voter Registrations
- Voter Registration in Estero increased from 14,000 in 2002 to 26,000 in 2014
- During this same period the number of registered Republicans in Estero increased from 7,000 to 13,000
- Currently about 5.7% of Lee County Voters are Estero voters while 7% of Lee County Republicans are Estero Republicans
- The Estero Community began its Absentee Voting Campaign in 2004 because of our uniquely large ‘Snowbird” population and the very low turnout that factor produced in August Primary Elections
August Republican Primary Participation (Voter Turnout) and Estero’s “Vote by Mail” Campaign
- Since the Lee County Board was Estero’s local government until the Village was formed in 2015 and the County Board has been dominated by Republicans for over two decades, our focus until recently has been on the August Republican Primary Election
- Only 22.5% of Estero’s registered Republicans voted in the 2002 Primary Election, well below the 34.3% countywide Republican turnout
- By the 2014 Primary Election Estero’s Republican voter turnout of 34.3%, exceeded the countywide Republican turnout of 31.9% due to our 10 year “Vote by Mail” (Absentee) campaign
Major Shift in the Way People Vote in Florida, Lee County and Estero
- In the 2006 Primary Election only 13% of all Lee County voters cast their ballots using “Vote by Mail”, formerly Absentee Voting procedures. The same proportion of Republican voters “Voted by Mail” in that election
- By the 2014 Primary Election 72% of all Lee County voters and 70.6% of Lee County Republican voters “Voted by Mail”
- In Estero a much higher 81.5% of Republicans voting in the 2014 Primary Election “Voted by Mail” as a result of our early emphasis on this method of voting, while 6% cast “Early Voting” ballots and 12.5% voted on Election Day
Estero’s Impact on County Board Races
- In spite of the fact Estero now has its own Village government, the community still needs to concern itself with the election of the County Commissioners for the following reasons: the Village purchases most of its services from Lee County; the County is heavily involved with regional issues like roads and water among others; and influential actions by the County on adjacent lands they control to our east, north and west
- The Estero community began screening County Commission candidates during the 2004 Primary Election
- Since then the Community Screening Committee has worked with well-known community leaders to encourage the election of preferred candidates in 9 two-person races. On average 67.4% of Estero’s Republican voters supported the Committee’s preferred candidate, well above the 50% plus one countywide vote needed to win such an election
- The Committee and its allies also supported a candidate in three four person races. On average the preferred candidate received 47% of the total vote, well above the 25% plus one vote necessary to win an evenly divided four-person contest.
- Although Estero’s registered Republicans are only 7% of the county’s registered Republicans, our ability to get large pluralities for our preferred candidates, allows Estero to provide our supported candidates with 10 to 12 % of their total vote.
The 2015 Village Council Election
- Estero’s Village Councilors are elected in a non-partisan election, thus all of Estero’s 24,700 registered voters may participate.
- In Estero’s first Village Council Election in March 2015 a total of 8,593 voters, or 36.3% of all Estero registered voters participated.
- Once again the vast majority of the votes, or 80.3%, were “Votes by Mail” with the balance being 9.2% by “Early Voting” and 10.4% cast on Election Day
- The Community Screening Committee selected preferred candidates in each of the 7 races, three of which were not contested. All but one of the preferred candidates were elected by substantial margins. The losing preferred candidate lost by 174 votes out of 8,200 total votes, less than 1% of the vote
- In the 14 months since the first Village Election an additional 1,000 Estero residents have registered to vote here in Florida.
- The March 15th Florida Presidential Preference Primary offered us an opportunity to encourage Estero residents to register and file “Vote by Mail” applications in order to vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice and to be able to vote in the other two elections later this year, the August Primary and the November General Election.
- As a result of this effort and the interest in this election, the number of Estero voters requesting absentee ballots has increased by about 900 since January 28, 2016 and an estimated 1,700 since the Village Election in March 2015. At present 9,900 of Estero’s 24,700 registered voters, 40% of the total, will be receiving “Vote by Mail” ballots for these upcoming elections.
- Since all eligible Estero residents can Register to Vote in the Primary Election until August 1, 2016 and “Vote by Mail” applications for the Primary Election can be filed until August 24, 2016, we plan to remind as many Estero residents as possible prior to these deadlines.
- As of June 30, 2016 132,581 Le County voters had requested “Vote by Mail” applications for the upcoming elections. A total of 10,089 of those requests came from Estero voters.