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Redemption can come today

Staff Editorial

Just a week after Black Belt voters turned out in low numbers at the polls in a state senate race, we have the chance to redeem ourselves.

Today, with polls open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., we’ll elect ourselves a president, and we’ll set the course for the state- in at least a few small ways – for the next several years.

While most local races were settled early this summer in the primaries, there are a handful of amendments, both local and statewide, that will have a direct affect on the citizens.

On the statewide list are eight constitutional amendments including the controversial Amendment 2 that repeals racist language in the 1901 Constitution requiring separate schools. Opponents say the amendment leaves the door open for judges become de facto tax raisers.

Many officials have said in the last few days that they believe the amendment merely cleans up the language and doesn’t create new taxes. Two of the state’s largest chambers of commerce, Birmingham and Mobile, have endorsed the amendment.

It’s another Amendment 2 that has folks in Hale County stirring. Local Amendment 2 would nearly double the ad valorem taxes in the county, with the largest chunk of new revenue – 18 mills – headed to the county’s school system.

At the same time, other county services like volunteer fire departments will receive a small portion under the proposal. Homestead exemption rates would also climb, exempting more people from the increase.

There’s no doubt that Hale County schools need more money, and Superintendent Frank Stegall has done well to make do with precious little. To raise funds through just one source doesn’t seem the fairest method of collection

however.

Highlighting today’s election, of course, will be the race for the Oval Office.

Alabama has a long history of turning out to elect the president – the race that has drawn the largest number of voters to the polls since 1986, according to Secretary of State Nancy Worley’s office.

Regardless of who one supports for president, Alabamians believe strongly in voting for the office. We’re sure the turnout will be equally aggressive when the numbers are tallied at the end of the day.

Today’s election is critical for us on the local and state level as well.

From school board members to judges to members of Congress, we set the course for our state today.

Get out and vote, and let your vote count.