Today is the day.
Decision 2008 will today as millions of Americans head to the polls to determine who will lead the United States for the next four years.
As early voting numbers, nationwide, broke records, political pundits and national media outlets are predicting record numbers for voter turnout.
In Vernon Parish 3,164 voters took advantage of early voting and cast their ballots, breaking the previous record by more than 1,320 votes.
Vernon Parish Registrar of Voter Tina Cooley said that the turnout was remarkable and thanked the voters who came into the office early for their patience and cooperation while waiting in line for their turn to vote.
Monday was also a busy day as more than 130 voting machines were delivered to precincts around the parish and last minute preparations for today’s election were completed.
During the past weekend both presidential front runners, Sen. John McCain-R and Sen. Barrack Obama-D worked the votes as they and their teams traveled to battleground states hoping to secure the 270 electoral votes that will elect one as the president of the United States.
Also on the presidential ballot in Louisiana are: Cynthia McKinney-Green Party; Chuck Baldwin-Constitution Party; Ralph Nader-Independent; “Ron” Paul-Louisiana Taxpayers Party; Gene Amondson-Prohibition Party; Gloria La Riva-Socialism and Liberation Party and James Harris-Socialist Workers Party.
In addition to choosing who will lead the nation, Vernon Parish voters also have the task of electing a U.S. Senator to represent the needs and wants of Louisiana residents in the national political forum. On the ballot are Richard Fontanesi-L; John Kennedy-R; Mary Landrieu-D (I); “Jay” Patel and Robert Stewart.
The second runoff for the 4th Congressional District will also be decided. During the Oct. 4, 2008 election, voters cast ballots within their party and decided that Willie Banks-D and Paul J. Carmouche-D will meet in a Democratic runoff along side John Fleming-R and “Chris” Gorman-R in the runoff election for the Republican candidate.
The final election for the 4th Congressional District seat will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, and will decide who will take the place of Congressman Jim McCrery who is retiring from office at the end of this term.
In District 1 voters will decide whom to elect to the Vernon Parish School Board.
Four individuals qualified for the position vacated by James Armes after he was elected as District 30 Representative.
Randi Schamerhorn-Gleason led the votes with 41 percent with local business owner Wayne Hicks coming in second with 32 percent.
Barbara Haymon earned 17 percent, and Howard “Slick” Hunt earned 9 percent of the votes.
There is one parish-wide proposition on the ballot for a 10 year, 1 mill property tax for the purpose of providing funds to match federal and state funds dispensed to Vernon Parish for services to the elderly, including the establishment and maintenance of centers for senior citizens.
Voters in Orange School District 145, the Anacoco School District, will have an opportunity to approve a school bond for capital improvements to the elementary, junior high and high school facilities.
The amount is 63 mills and will not exceed $4,100,000 for a 25-year general obligation bond for the purpose of improving building sites, playgrounds and several other projects.
For both propositions all homes in Vernon Parish are exempt up to $75,000 under Homestead Exemption. Homes are appraise
One mill equals 1/10 of one percent. The Vernon Parish Tax Assessors office recently completed reassessments of all homes and business in Vernon Parish.
These reassessments occur every four years. Most residents and businesses should have received the new tax assessment from the assessor’s office.
In layman's terms if a home or property is valued under $75,000 the owner will not have to pay anything. If a home or property is valued over $75,000 the remaining value will be taxed appropriately.
For example if a home is appraised at $100,000 the home owner has $25,000 that is in excess of the exempted $75,000. The home or property owner will then be assessed a tax on the $25,000. One mil on that amount would be $2.50 per year.
Statewide there are seven proposed constitutional amendments.
Proposed Amendment No. 1 Establish term limits for members of state boards and commissions.
Proposed Amendment No. 2 Requires two additional days of notice before calling a special legislative session
Proposed Amendment No. 3 Allow a temporary successor to be appointed for legislators called to active military duty
Proposed Amendment No. 4 Redistribute state severance tax revenue
Proposed Amendment No. 5 Allow the transfer of the special property tax assessment level for certain homeowners
Proposed Amendment No. 6 Change the requirements for public bodies to resell expropriated property
Proposed Amendment No. 7 Authorize certain post-retirement funds to be invested in stocks.
If you have any questions about the proposed amendments visit www.la-par.org for a complete breakdown of each amendment.
If you are unsure what district you are registered to vote in or have any other questions about the upcoming elections please call the Registrar of Voters office at 337-239-3690.
Americans to decide on next president today
Today is the day.