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VOL. 128 | NO. 214 | Friday, November 1, 2013

Early Voting Opens in Sales Tax Referendum

By Bill Dries

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Early voting opens Friday, Nov. 1, in the citywide referendum on a half percent sales tax hike and the Tennessee House District 91 general election.

Early voting opens Friday in the citywide referendum on a sales tax hike and the Tennessee House District 91 general election. 

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

Election day in the two special election contests is Nov. 21, the last election in a series of 11 in a three-month period.

The citywide sales tax hike ballot question includes in its wording a provision for $30 million of the estimated $47 million in revenue the increase would generate to be used for an expansion of pre-kindergarten services in the city of Memphis. The use of that part of the revenue and the pre-kindergarten services contract with providers would be administered by a panel appointed earlier by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. The nominees are awaiting approval by the Memphis City Council.

The remainder of the revenue from the sales tax rate hike would be used to roll back the city’s property tax rate under the specific wording of the ballot question.

The general election for state House District 91 is a contest between Democratic nominee Raumesh Akbari, who won the October primary special election, and independent candidate Jim Tomasik. No candidates filed for the Republican primary.

Tomasik has a lawsuit pending in Nashville federal court seeking to go on the general election ballot under a Libertarian Party heading.

The crowded election calendar begins to clear a bit on Saturday, which is the last day of early voting in four of the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County who are each electing school boards.

Early voting sites in Bartlett, Germantown and Millington have been open since Monday and are open Friday and Saturday as well as Shelby County Election Commission offices Downtown at 157 Poplar Ave.

Through Tuesday, 568 citizens had cast early votes in the school board races. Most of them, 236, voted at New Bethel Church in Germantown with 180 voting at Bethel Church in Bartlett and another 113 at Baker Community Center in Millington. The rest of the turnout was at the Election Commission offices Downtown, and absentee votes.

Early voting opened at the Downtown location on Oct. 18 but has accounted for only 11 early votes through Tuesday.

Saturday will be the only day of early voting in Lakeland at theRefuge church, 9817 Huff N Puff Road.

There is no early voting period in the Germantown and Collierville school board elections because all of the candidates in each set of races are running unopposed.

Election day for the school board races in all six suburban towns and cities is Nov. 7.

Meanwhile, candidates in the 2014 Shelby County elections can begin pulling qualifying petitions on Nov. 22 for the May 6 county primary elections and the Aug. 7 county general elections. The general election ballot is the longest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics. It features the non-partisan judicial offices that come up for election once every eight years as well as the regularly scheduled primaries and general election for district attorney general.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396