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Record number of DeKalb County voters cast their ballots early

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Record number of DeKalb County voters cast their ballots early

File photo by Jonathan Phillips
File photo by Jonathan Phillips

File photo by Jonathan Phillips

DeKalb County Elections officials say nearly 50 percent of active voters have cast their ballot early in the Nov. 8 election.

Early voting ended on Nov. 4. According to the Board of Elections, 193,000 people have already cast their ballots, including 13,000 by mail. There are 518,947 registered voters in the county.

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“We expect Election Day to go smoothly because almost 50 percent of active voters have taken advantage of early voting opportunities and the remaining 30 percent to 35 percent we expect will be spread over 173 locations,” Elections Director Maxine Daniels said in a press release.

CEO Lee May said nearly 4,000 people took advantage of early voting on Sunday, Oct. 30. The county said the average wait time to vote was less than 15 minutes during the first two weeks, and 30 minutes during the final week, though readers reported waiting substantially longer than that to vote early.

Polls open tomorrow, Nov. 8, at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

People who wish to vote will need to bring one of the following forms of identification, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office:

– Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

– A Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired

– Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state

– Valid U.S. passport ID

– Valid U.S. military photo ID

– Valid tribal photo ID

To see a sample ballot, visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter Page by clicking here.

DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon provided this summary of some of the local issues that are on the ballot.

 – Amendment 1: State Intervention Through Opportunity School District

This amendment would allow the state to manage schools that have been deemed as failing, based upon their College and Career Ready Performance Index score. These schools would be shut  down or placed under a  statewide  opportunity district overseen by a governor-appointed Superintendent.

– Amendment 2: Funds For Services to Child Victim of Sex Trafficking

This amendment will allow for establishing a Safe Harbor Fund for rehabilitative and support services to sexually exploited children. Taxpayers would not contribute, but would use fines from convicted sex trafficker cases and annual fees from adult entertainment industries.

– Amendment 3: Judicial Qualifications Commission

This amendment will abolish the longstanding Judicial Qualifications Commission overseen by the judicial branch and give the authority to the general assembly.

– Amendment 4: Fireworks Tax Revenue

This amendment would support moving tax revenue from the sale of fireworks to trauma care, fire protection services and fire safety. 5% of the tax revenue would be allotted to local governments to support 911 services.

DeKalb County Special Elections

If you live in Super District 7 (the east half of the county) your special election comes next.  It is a very confusing selection.  First, there are 9 candidates listed  but Jerome Edmonson has already withdrawn but did not turn the proper information in to the Registrar, so his name remains on the ballot.  Second, with so many candidates for this position, there will be a run-off, so stay tuned.  Take the time to to learn who offers District 7 the most independent and informed opportunities.

DeKalb County Homestead Exemption  Act 264, House Bill 596

In 2015, the General Assembly passed legislation to call a referendum to extend the existing Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze (applicable only to County taxes) until 2022.  Voters wishing to extend  the Homestead Property Tax Assessment Freeze until 2022 should vote yes to approve the legislation.  Voters wishing to end the freeze at the end of 2016 should vote no.

The freeze maintains your property value at the level set when you elected to take the freeze.

Cities in DeKalb County

– The City of Stonecrest Special Election will only be on the ballot for those who live in the boundaries of the proposed city.

– DeKalb residents in the City of Atlanta have 2 Special Election questions on T-SPLOST and MARTA sales taxes.

– DeKalb residents in the City of Decatur have 5 Homestead Exemption questions.

– Pine Lake residents get to vote on liquor package sales.

The five tax-related questions on Decatur’s Nov. 8 ballot are:

– Expanding the Decatur school homestead tax exemption to seniors 65 and older. The exemption will save seniors $993 on every $100,000 of their home’s value

– Increasing the city’s basic homestead exemption from $20,000 to $25,000

– Increasing the exemption from homeowners over 65 from $1,000 to $10,000

– A new $15,000 exemption for homeowners over 62 with a household income of less than $50,000

– Repealing an old cap on the exemptions

*Source: Decatur Tax Blog, news archives

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