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Issues omitted from ballot
Special election required, costly
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At a glance

Early voting on the second ballot will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays from Monday to Oct. 29 at the Board of Elections office, 96 Academy Ave. Those who have already voted will be notified by mail and given the opportunity to cast the second ballot. For more information, call (706) 344-3640.

Voters who cast ballots early for the Nov. 2 General Election will need to vote again if they want their opinions counted on two pieces of local legislation.


The Dawson County Board of Elections announced late last week that two questions concerning homestead exemptions had been omitted from the ballot.


As a result, a special election will be held in conjunction with the regular election, with the two questions appearing on a second ballot.


The special election, which officials estimated will cost the county an additional $13,000 to $14,000, will require different ballots, separate voting equipment and poll workers.


It also will be held in a different area than the general election.


As of Tuesday morning, more than 180 voters had cast advance ballots.


The election office learned of the mistake after a local voter called asking about the questions he thought would be on his ballot.


If approved, the first measure would raise the amount allowed under homestead exemptions for school district ad valorum taxes to $120,000 for those age 70 and older.


The second item would increase the amount of homestead exemptions to $65,000 for the disabled or people 65 and older, if approved.


Both were presented by 9th District Rep. Amos Amerson, who said he learned of the error last week.


“As long as they are running the special election consecutive to the general election on Nov. 2, I have no objection,” Amerson said. “People make mistakes.”


In a Sept. 22 memo to the election board, County Attorney Joey Homans said the mix-up was due to a change in procedure at the Secretary of State’s office.


According to the memo, “Certain local referendums were e-mailed to us in June. This change in procedure (Dawson County received hard copies ... until this year) plus changes in election statutes related to special elections resulted in the call for election not being issued timely so that the referendum could be placed upon the same ballot as the general election.”


Glenda Ferguson, elections supervisor, accepted blame for the mistake.


“At that time we were preparing for the runoff we were having an overlap in our July primary, so in all of that it got missed,” she said.