Recreation tax passes with few votes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Saturday&8217;s day at the polls was one of word finds, magazines and summer reading for the poll commissioners, but the voters were more of the active-sport-loving kind.

In favor of outdoor ball fields, the recreation tax was renewed for 10 years by a vote of 124 to 49.

Only 173 votes were cast at seven precincts, making Saturday a long day for poll workers.

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&8220;The flow has been slow,&8221; commissioner Evelyn Clark said around 2 p.m. at her Old Courthouse poll. &8220;The most we&8217;ve had is four in a group. It&8217;s going to be a very low turnout.&8221;

But the turnout was to be expected with only one item on the ballot, and only portions of the parish voting, Clerk of Courts Clyde Ray Webber said earlier in the week.

The 71.68 percent voting in favor of the tax pushed forward the four-mill property tax that funds maintenance and building projects for Recreation District No. 3 in Vidalia.

Mayor Hyram Copeland has said the passage of Saturday&8217;s renewal would pave the way for a land purchase and pending construction of new recreation facilities.

And that&8217;s exactly what the town needs, voter and poll worker Betty Wilson said Saturday.

&8220;We need that money,&8221; she said. &8220;It&8217;s something for the children. It&8217;ll help big time.&8221;

Saturday&8217;s election also proved to be a good testing ground for the new electronic voting machines, Clark said. No major problems with the machines were reported, but poll workers said some voters were a little wary of them at first.

&8220;Thank goodness this election only had that one (thing) to vote on,&8221; Clark said. &8220;Some came in and said, &8216;Can I do this?&8217;&8221;

But the machines make the nights shorter for those doing the counting. All votes were in and counted before 9 p.m. Polls closed at 8 p.m.