Low voter turnout could mean school tax question hinges on small number of votes

Baldwin County

ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — Central Baldwin County voters are the latest group of homeowners asked whether they want to increase property taxes to help fund schools. The results could hinge on a small number of votes.

When polls normally open first thing in the morning there’s usually a line. But Tuesday morning at Central Baldwin’s largest polling place in Robertsdale it was barely a trickle. Baldwin County’s sheriff was the second person to cast a ballot.

“There are other education foundations in our county that have preceded this one and they have proved to be highly successful and it’s a chance for each community to show support for its local school system,” said Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack after he says he voted yes.

There are a number of factors driving a low turnout: this is the only issue on the ballot, there’s no other candidate or question drawing people in, and the initiative hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. Most who shared their vote on camera said they voted yes.

“Just the fact they want to be there and they want to learn, they’re great kids and deserve those opportunities,” said ‘yes’ voter Nancy Caruthers. Others talked about why they voted no.

“I think we need to be a little more fiscally responsible I do think more money would be helpful but I want to see evidence people are being responsible with the money we’re giving them,” said ‘no’ voter Rick Zitnik.

On the table is a property tax increase to help fund schools around Robertsdale, Silverhill and Loxley. Fairhope and Spanish Fort passed similar measures for their schools in recent years after the failure of county-wide tax increases in 2015.

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