Voters reject $12.3 million bond issue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008



Selma voters rejected a $12.3 bond issue Tuesday, but the projects could rise again.

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Complete, but unofficial vote tallies showed 2,009 voting against the bond issue, and 1,606 for.

The day was marked by irregularities from the beginning to the end.

Early in the day, voters waited around at several polling places after the regularly scheduled opening time of 7 a.m. for poll workers to show up. At other polling places, machines would not function because the rain fell on them as they were delivered Tuesday morning.

City officials scurried around and petition the circuit court to extend polling hours to 8 p.m., instead of the usual 7 p.m. close. Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins signed the order after the U.S. Department of Justice approved the move.

Ironically, Wiggins signed the order the same day the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered him to recuse himself from a case involving an investigation of voter fraud in Hale County.

Mayor James Perkins called the move to extend Tuesday&8217;s polling hours

a &8220;good faith effort&8221; to allow people to cast their ballots.

During the evening vote count, poll workers from at least two precincts &8212; Dallas County Courthouse and Woodrow Avenue Fire Station misplaced the tally sheets for the polls, causing brief anxiety among officials.

Neither side expects any problems with certifying the final total, which must be certified by March 4.

Perkins spoke about the bond issue&8217;s defeat shortly before the final box&8217;s results were announced. He stood in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall, not showing much expression as he talked.

The mayor joined with Councilman Cecil Williamson of Ward 1 and talked about splitting up the projects listed under the seven broad categories presented to voters Tuesday to allow them to pick and choose where to spend the money.

Williamson campaigned against the bond issue, saying it was not specific enough. As late as Monday night&8217;s city council meeting, he urged voters to deny this bond issue and he told fellow council members to list the projects with a dollar amount beside them, then present another bond issue to the voters.