BY ANDREAS BUTLER
In Volusia County, voters will soon get to decide if there should be a countywide half-cent sales tax to help with capital improvement projects.
The Supervisor of Elections Office will mail out the ballots for the special election on Wednesday, May 1.
Voters are to fill out the ballot either in favor of or against the tax and mail the ballot back to the Supervisor of Elections office no later than 7 pm on Tuesday, May 21.
This is a mail-in ballot election only.
“People should be looking for their ballot in the mail. They should have it the next day or up to three days later. We expect everyone to have it by the weekend. If they don’t, I would rather people call and make sure we have the right address to see where the ballot went,” said Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis.
How to return them
The ballots can be dropped off at City Hall or Town Hall at each of the 16 municipalities in the county or mailed back in. Registered voters also can have someone drop off their ballots.
Lewis explained, “People can only have someone return their ballot for them. A person can only pick up a ballot for themselves.
People will only get ballots sent out in the mail. If they don’t get one, they can come pick one up. They can also only have someone else return their ballots for them as long as they aren’t paying that person to do so.”
Register by April 22
The last day to register to be able to vote in the special election for the half-cent sales tax is Monday, April 22.
The half-cent sales tax is designed to raise funds for roads, sidewalks, stormwater and flooding projects, as well as other infrastructure improvements in the county.
The Volusia County/ Daytona Beach NAACP is concerned about the voter participation, especially since it’s a mail-in election.
“We are always concerned about low turnout in any election. On this particular sales tax election, we are concerned that people haven’t been informed enough. Hopefully, the word gets out with the meetings that the city has been doing in regards to it,” said Cynthia Slater, president of the Volusia County/Daytona Beach NAACP.
The City of of Daytona Beach is hosting community meetings on the hal-fcent sales tax twice a week through April.
Slater added, “The NAACP is encouraging people to attend those meetings that the city is having on the sales tax so they can be informed on how this affects their community.”
The final three Daytona Beach meetings are scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:
• Tuesday, April 23, Schnebly Recreation Center, 1101 N. Atlantic Ave.
• Thursday, April 25, Daytona Beach Police Department, 129 Valor Blvd.
• Tuesday, April 30, Church of Christ, 850 Beville Road
Despite the recent meetings on the half-cent sales tax, Slater believes more could be done.
“I don’t think it’s been publicized enough. It’s been discussed for a while, but a lot of people are just finding out about it,” Slater stated.
City officials want residents to take advantage of the meetings for information and to offer feedback.
“Any time you are going to vote on something, you must be informed on making a decision that will affect you both long-term and short-term, said Daytona Commissioner Quanita May.
“A lot of communities feel left out. When it comes to these important decisions, citizens must be involved. They themselves will decide their own future, the Zone 3 commissioner added.
Meanwhile, voter registration is steady across Volusia County with no major increases since the 2018 midterms.
Lewis noted, “We have no real increases or decreases in voter registration. We do have people moving into the county that are registering to vote here.”
There are around 400,000 registered voters in Volusia County, according to the elections office’s website.
For more details about the ballot, visit www.volusiaelections.org.
HALF-CENT SALES SURTAX BALLOT QUESTION
To fund projects for county and municipal public facilities restricted to roads, sidewalks, bridges, water quality, stormwater and flood control, and amenities ancillary to those facilities, shall Volusia County Ordinance 2019-4 be approved to levy a one-half cent sales tax for twenty years; and to establish a Citizens Advisory Committee to review the use of proceeds?