WASHINGTON COUNTY – The official date for the alcohol referendum voting was set when the Washington County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Dec. 16.
The initial date was set in November for January 26, but it was discovered that the date would need to be reset to January 21 in order to comply with state statutes. The statute states the vote must fall within 60 days of the initial petition being brought to the board. Several members of the public were present at the meeting to ask the board to change the way votes are to be cast during this election. Mail in ballots are the means by which this vote will occur, however; citing the importance of the issue and the possibility of voter fraud, requests were made to change the means to in person voting.
“If this is issue is that important why leave it to chance with a mail-in ballot,” said Robert Wells. “When I voted each one of you into office, I did it in person because it was that important to me. Please consider changing the way our votes are cast on this issue.”
Travis Hall spoke of what he referred to as voter fraud during the last Presidential election, stating he “did not want this to happen” with the referendum.
“Remember during the last election how my President had it stolen from under him because of voter fraud,” said Hall. “We do not want to take that chance on this matter. I respectfully request this be changed to in person voting.”
Supervisor of Elections Carol Rudd explained that it is too late change the election.
“We have all the ballots in envelopes and ready to drop in the mail tomorrow,” said Rudd. “We have advertising guidelines by statute that we must follow just like in any other election. We are too far down the road to change the type of vote this can be.”
Ballots began going out in the mail Friday, Dec. 17. All votes will be counted and verified by 7 p.m. on January 21 when the decision will be final.
In other business, the board approved a funding request for industrial park certification located behind FDOT was approved in the amount of $25,745.35 to be paid out of Economic Development Council funds. The certification process is in the second phase and covers the archaeological study and endangered species study. Once this phase is complete EDC will move forward with construction and infrastructure placements.
A spreadsheet containing roads that have been applied for in the past for FDOT Small Community Outreach Program, Small County Road Assistance Program and County Incentive Grant Program is expected to be delivered by County Engineer Cliff Knauer at the January meeting. Commissioners will make a decision which roads to apply for with each grant program at that time.
Commissioners approved the Clerk of Court to pay vouchers for the month of November totaling $4,339,325.40.
Washington County Board of County Commissioners will meet again in regular session at 9 a.m. on January 13.