Dallas County, Alabama votes ‘yes’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Despite some negativity concerning proposed Amendments One and Two, the people voted overwhelmingly ‘yes.’

The count was unofficial as of press time with 99 percent of precincts having reported, but the message sent by voters is pretty clear.

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“The future has never looked brighter for Alabama,” Gov. Bob Riley stated in a press release on Tuesday night. “This is a great victory for Alabama. The people made the right choice and I thank them. Their vote will bring more jobs to our state. It will sustain our economic growth, which makes it possible to put more money into education. It will keep Alabama in competition for thousands of more jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.”

Amendment One will allow the state to issue $400 million in bonds to pay for economic incentives for the Thyssen Krupp steel mill near Mobile and other industrial projects throughout the state.

Amendment Two will provide constitutional protection for two trust funds recently set up by the Legislature to save money for the future health care costs of retired state workers and public education employees.

“That’s great,” Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority and president of the Centre for Commerce, said after hearing the results. “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything immediately. For us, it means if we have a project, there’s money for incentives to innovate.”

Kim Ballard, Dallas County probate judge, said the results were just as he predicted.

“It’s overwhelming support for the two amendments,” Ballard said.

Speaking of Amendment One, Ballard predicts Dallas County will benefit from the future growth of Thyssen Krupp.

“It’s going to have a positive effect on us,” he said.

According to the unofficial summary report from the Dallas County Probate office, 93.81 percent of voters voted ‘yes’ for Amendment One and 94.05 percent voted ‘yes’ for Amendment Two.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting statewide on Amendment One, 188,227 voters, or 80 percent, supported the constitutional amendment and 48,302 voters, or 20 percent, opposed it.

On Amendment Two, 199,686 voters, or 84 percent, supported it, and 38,695 voters, or 16 percent, opposed it.

“It was a blowout,” Jean Martin, Selma city councilwoman and chief inspector at Byrd Elementary School precinct, said.

Officials predicted only 10 percent of voters would go to the polls. Only 2,682 Dallas County voters out of 29,852 registered voters cast their votes Tuesday, according to the unofficial summary report – 8.98 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.