Early election notebook: Three days of in-person early voting

Through about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, 863 people had cast an early in-person ballot in Monroe County for the Nov. 8 elections.

Early in-person voting started on Wednesday morning at Monroe County’s election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets.

For the first week of early voting, from Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler, here are the daily tallies: 319 (Oct. 12); 348 (Oct. 13); 196 (Oct. 14 with 4.5 hours to go). The total for the first three days was probably around 1,000.

With 18 days left during the early-voting period, the current pace would project out to about 7,000 voters. But that pace is expected to increase.

In 2018, when the most recent midterm election was held, a total of 24,589 early in-person and absentee votes were recorded in Monroe County.

Early on Friday afternoon just one person was holding a campaign sign at the corner of 3rd and Walnut—Lois Sabo-Skelton. She’s a former MCSCC (Monroe County Community School Corporation) board member who is supporting the referendum that appears on the ballot. Sabo-Skelton told The B Square that she supports the ballot measure, because it’s needed to save public schools.

If it’s passed, the referendum would set the school referendum levy rate at $0.185 for eight years. Compared to now, that would increase the average residential taxes that are paid to the schools by about 15 percent. It means a single-digit increase in overall property tax bills.

Based on the ballot question wording, it’s a bigger percentage than that.

But that’s because the wording on the ballot is required to reflect the difference between the amount paid if the referendum were to pass, compared to the amount if the referendum were to fail.

There already exists a referendum levy rate, which was included on the most recent tax bills, but it is expiring. The 15-percent analysis for the increase comes from comparing the amount that will be paid to MCCSC if the referendum passes, to the amount paid with the old referendum rate.

The ballot wording says the additional money for schools will support the retention and attraction of teachers and staff and enhance programs in STEM, the arts, and special education.

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