LEXINGTON, S.C. — Across the Midlands, there are plenty of county-specific ballot items voters need to be familiar with. This includes penny taxes, new forms of county government, and school board bond referendums--- all topics voters in the Midlands are deciding on and will be deciding on come Election Day.
If you live in Saluda, you'll be voting for or against a new tax funding a $49M bond referendum that would add an elementary school and upgrade other schools. There's also an option to change your county government from council and director to council and administrator.
In Newberry, you can vote yay or nay to a penny tax that could fund a county public safety complex and jail upgrades.
In Lexington, you'll be choosing yes or no to a Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) for the next eight years has the potential to improve roads with an estimated $568M from that tax money.
“There was one in 2014 that failed. The reason it failed, there were other items other than roadways. Lexington County is not eligible for a transportation tax. Because there cannot be a transportation tax and a local tax enacted by the general assembly. The general assembly has enacted a local school tax as to Lexington County, therefore Lexington County is not eligible,” Lynn Sturkie, Lexington County administrator said.
In Sumter, residents will decide whether or not they want to pay a new penny tax that could go toward emergency medical services, new sidewalks, and road upgrades.
It's important that voters are informed about these complicated options before walking in.
“Ahead of time, so that you can do whatever research you want to do and form opinions about how you want to vote because that can be overwhelming in the voting booth if you're presented with a multiple page question, lengthy question and you're trying to read and comprehend that in a short period of time,” said Chris Whitmire, the spokesperson for the South Carolina Election Commission.
Whitmire tells News19 Sumter's penny tax has 34 items, and if you're not prepared to cast a vote quickly it could hold up the line, which is what happened to Lexington County voter Pedro Gomes today.
“I wanted to do better research before I showed up to have a more informed decision, but I ended up staring at the ballot and reading it about two or three times, just to make sure I was understanding it before casting the vote,” Gomes said.
So do your homework, call the county attend meetings and it'll help you process the change you're voting on.
You can find more information about Lexington County's capital project sales tax at their meeting Tuesday night at Chapin town hall at 6:30 p.m. or online at lexingtoncountycpst.com.