Please, Cobb County, vote on November 2 if you haven’t voted in advance

absentee ballot drop boxBallot drop at the South Cobb Government Center (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

[This is an opinion piece by Larry Felton Johnson, the Editor and Publisher of the Cobb County Courier]

Not everyone can vote in the Cobb County municipal elections, since a large portion of the county, including me, lives in unincorporated areas.

But every eligible voter in Cobb can cast a vote on the Ed-SPLOST, the one-cent optional sales tax for school-related projects. And whether you have school-aged children or not (at 70 years old I most definitely don’t) issues involving the children in our county are worth taking the time to read up on and vote on.

My own decision about whether to vote yes or no on the Ed-SPLOST was complicated this time.

In past elections I’ve for every Ed-SPLOST since I’ve lived in the county. While I wish our school projects were funded with a less regressive tax, I’m personally happy to pay the extra penny on the dollar for school projects.

At the outset, I should say I am not going to tell you how I voted when I went to the central elections office for advance voting. If you’ve read my From the Editor articles in the past, you know I’m not shy or timid about voicing opinions, including opinions that drive some readers into enraged frenzy.

But I’m not going to tell you this time for a couple of simple reasons.

The first is that there are valid reasons to vote either way on the Ed-SPLOST.

The second is that the Courier does not do endorsements except under extraordinary circumstances, and this doesn’t meet the bar. And if I tell you how I voted, as the only full-time person at the Courier it would effectively be an endorsement.

Regular readers know that the Courier’s relationship with the Cobb County School District has been rocky, to put it charitably.

Put more bluntly, I consider it a secretive, non-transparent, unprofessional district that often turns out deceptive press releases, with an overtly racist majority on the school board (particularly as evidenced by what I call the “white sponsor rule“. If you want to know more about that, do a search on Cobb County School District on this site and read both my “From the Editor” opinion columns and our news coverage of the district.

So I do not have a high level of trust in their use of our money.

But there is a big “on the other hand,” that could make a decision to vote for the Ed-SPLOST a valid choice.

No matter who’s in charge of the school district, the district is mandated to teach our children, and they have to be taught in buildings that often need expansion and maintenance.

Because of our messed up national and state priorities, and methods of taxation that allow officials to cost shift and hide taxation, rather than build a legitimate case for what is needed and then build a case for how to fund it equitably, the Ed-SPLOST is how we keep our schools from falling apart.

As I stated, I’m not going to try to influence your vote.

But I do want to influence you to vote if you haven’t already.

According to the latest count posted on the Cobb elections website 10,104 ballots were cast in advance (the Courier has seen a slightly higher number published elsewhere, but the posted number was 10,104 as of yesterday).

There are 532,814 registered voters in Cobb.

The combined election day turnout and incoming absentee ballots would have to be enormous on November 2 for the percentage of registered voters to reach the halfway point.

If you are reading this, are registered, and haven’t voted, try to make it happen.