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Staff report

Some totals are in for early voting in Bladen County. However, some residents are still trying to decide exactly how to vote on the proposed Constitutional Amendments featured on the ballots this election.

There are six proposed Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. While the “act requiring photo identification to vote” is pretty clear cut for voters some amendments have voters asking for clarification on others.

Voters will be asked to vote for or against the following acts:

1:  Constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

2:  Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.

3:  Constitutional amendment to establish an eight-member Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections Enforcement in the Constitution to administer ethics and elections law.

4: Constitutional amendment to change the process for filling judicial vacancies that occur between judicial elections from a process in which the Governor has sole appointment power to a process in which the people of the State nominate individuals to fill vacancies by way of a commission comprised of appointees made by the judicial, executive, and legislative branches charged with making recommendations to the legislature as to which nominees are deemed qualified; then the legislature will recommend nominees to the Governor via legislative action not subject to gubernatorial veto; and the Governor will appoint judges from among these nominees.

5:  Constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax rate in North Carolina to a maximum allowable rate of seven percent (7%).

6: Constitutional amendment to require voters to provide photo identification before voting in person.

Representative Brisson said the amendment protecting the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is already there. Therefore, the additional amendment about protecting the right to hunt, fish and harvest is added protection.

Several of our readers have asked, “Exactly what does the amendment to change the process for filling for judicial vacancies really mean?”

“It gives the general public more input,” House Representative William Brisson said about the Amendments referencing appointing Judges.

Erin Smith with BladenOnline.com wrote an article with information about the amendments, Income Taxes, Sales Taxes and Hunting Rights on the Ballot. We have found other websites explaining the amendments more in depth. You may visit those site here, here, or here.

Bladen County Board of Elections office did report totals for early voting on Thursday, October 26. There were a total of 3,129 early votes at the Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown, 519 mail absentee ballots collected and 1,617 absentee ballots requested according to Cynthia Shaw with the Bladen County Board of Elections.

Shaw said, “That’s pretty good.” referring to the early voting numbers.

The One Stop Voting location is the Bladen County Public Library located at 111 N. Cypress Street in Elizabethtown. The hours of operation are:

*Monday, October 22, thru Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

*Monday, October 29, thru Friday, November 2, 2018, from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

*Saturday, November 3, 2018, from 8 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Voters who have not yet decided which candidate they will choose, have the opportunity to meet the candidates and hear their positions on issues at the Bladenboro BeastFest Candidates’ Forum. The Candidates’ forum will take place in Bladenboro at 12 noon on Saturday, October 27th, at the Beast Fest stage.

Besides selecting their candidate of choice, and their opinions on the amendments, voters in Bladen County will be asked to vote for or against a Local Sales and Use Tax of 0.25 cents. The tax was placed back on the ballot by the Bladen County Commissioners at the request of the Bladen County Board of Education.

The Board of Education proposed in their August meeting to utilize the funds to assist in making repairs to existing facilities and to place a portion of the funds generated towards pre-construction costs for new facilities to be constructed in the future.

 

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