Quit debating and cast your vote

By: 

The big day is almost here!

No, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are referring to Election Day.

The November 8 General Election has been the talk of almost everyone for months, especially after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were selected as the representatives for their respective political parties. While they are not the only candidates for president, they are the main focus.

However, it’s time to quit debating and cast your vote next Tuesday, Nov. 8 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at your precinct.

While the presidential race is important and has dominated headlines and television screens across the country, it’s not the only item on the ballot as several local races will also be up for grabs.

The biggest and only contested county-level race is the one for Barnwell County Sheriff. Incumbent Ed Carroll is seeking re-election for the position he’s held since 2005; however, newcomer Willie Walker is vying for the office.

The sheriff’s job is an important one as whoever is elected will oversee the county’s largest law enforcement agency. Both candidates acknowledge there is work to do to make Barnwell County safer and better. We encourage you to read profiles including a Question and Answer section with both candidates found on page 9A so you can make an informed decision on who is the best man for the job.

Several other races are on the ballot, including coroner, clerk of court, four county council seats and a Soil & Water Conservation District Commission seat. There is no opposition for any of these races.

Voters will also vote for the state senator and House of Representative member as well as solicitor, U.S. Senator and U.S. House of Representative. Some of those incumbents face opposition this election year.

Barnwell County voters will also decide whether they want a 1 percent Capital Sales Tax imposed for eight years in order to fund capital improvement projects across the county. County leaders have said many of these projects will need to be done sooner or later and this tax is fairer than raising property taxes, which would only impact a certain percentage of the county’s population. The 1 percent tax would apply to everyone – residents and visitors – who purchases certain goods.

As you may remember, a similar referendum for a 1 percent tax failed on the ballot in 2014 after a large campaign by citizens and some businesses was started. However, that has not happened this go-around.

After the referendum failed two years ago, we told county leaders to pick better projects that citizens would be more likely to support if they wanted to get our vote. We believe they have.

Still, it’s your decision.

We encourage you to review the referendum and exactly what projects would be funded with the tax. We dedicated page 8A to give you an explanation of the tax.

The polls are expected to busy so plan to wait in line and be patient. To speed things up, determine your choices ahead of time so time spent in the booth is shorter.

And thank you in advance for voting.

It is a right and a responsibility.