Early voting begins today at precincts in Cobb County for the $773 Million Ed-SPLOST 4. This is a Cobb County education referendum to extend the one-penny, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for five years. It’s the only item on the ballot for an election scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2013. But very low voter turnout during advance voting has election officials worried that people may not know about the election, or are not going to the polls to either support or vote against the referendum. Cobb election official are puzzled by the low voter turnout at this point because Ed-SPLOST 4 has been such a controversial topic.
On Sunday, a rally was held in downtown Marietta to protest Ed-SPLOST. The Cobb Taxpayers Association and the Cobb-based Georgia Tea Party teamed up to voice opposition to the referendum. They say there is a long list of reasons why voters should say "no" to the referendum including a “process which promotes waste and inefficient use of tax dollars”.
On the other side of the issue are parents and students who say the funds are needed to address issues like school overcrowding. Parents and school officials say the revenue is important to Cobb's continued educational growth.
A sample ballot can be found on the Cobb County Board of Election and Registration website. Cobb’s Ed-SPLOST 4 was approved by the Cobb County School Board November 2012 and calls for a 1 percent sales tax on retail goods. The revenue collected is to benefit both the Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools and includes renovations, new facilities, and security and technology system improvements. Early voting continues all week, giving voters a little more time to make a decision for or against Ed-SPLOST 4.