CLINTON — Nearly 900 East Feliciana Parish voters cast early ballots for Saturday’s parishwide property tax election called by the parish School Board.
Registrar of Voters Bobbie Ross said 718 voters cast early ballots in person at her office and 173 mailed ballots had been returned by Wednesday morning.
Ross said a steady stream of voters appeared at her office during the week-long early voting period, which ended Saturday.
The total is about 70 percent of the early ballots cast in the October 2011 gubernatorial election, according to vote totals posted on the Secretary of State’s website. The parish had 13,897 registered voters on Monday, according to the website.
The School Board is asking voters to approve a 38-mill property tax increase to improve the parish’s academic programs, attract qualified teachers with higher pay, improve technology to meet new state mandates and work on a backlog of school maintenance issues.
The board expects the tax to generate about $4 million annually.
The proposition has drawn fire from representatives of other agencies supported by property taxes because they say their budgets will lose revenues if the tax hike causes railroad companies to move their domicile from East Feliciana Parish.
Ten such companies claim East Feliciana as their domicile to take advantage of the parish’s property tax rate, the lowest in the state.
Two special elections also are scheduled to fill vacancies, and Wilson voters will choose between incumbent Marilyn Broadway and Joshua Thomas for mayor of the village.
Voters in Precincts 8 through 15 will choose between Jimmy McCaa and Cliff Morris for the constable’s post in Justice of the Peace District 2.
In Justice of the Peace District 3 — Precincts 16 through 19B — voters will see three candidates on the ballot for justice of the peace, but candidate Bart Blackledge withdrew from contention after the ballots were printed.
The race to fill the term begun by Dewey DeLee now is between Sissy Burge and Billy Yarbrough.
Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said signs will be posted to inform voters of Blackledge’s withdrawal and any votes cast for him will not be counted.