Early voting begins for DeKalb sales tax and city leaders

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Early voting begins for DeKalb sales tax and city leaders

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Kent Johnson/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
DeKalb County voters line up for early voting at the county Voter Registration and Elections office in Stone Mountain, Monday, October 17, 2016. KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Early voting begins Monday at two locations in DeKalb County, with countywide referendums and city elections on the ballot.

All registered voters in DeKalb will be able to decide on three tax-related ballot questions. Meanwhile, those who live in cities will be eligible to vote for their mayors and city council members.

Here’s a look at the referendums on the ballot:

  1. Reduce homeowners’ property taxes: A change to the homestead local option sales tax (HOST) would lower residents’ property tax bills countywide. If approved, all revenue from this existing 1 percent sales tax would be returned to DeKalb homeowners. Currently, 80 percent of HOST goes toward property tax reduction and 20 percent for government infrastructure.
  2. Raise DeKalb’s sales tax rate to 8 percent: The creation of a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST)  would raise money to repave more than 318 miles of the county’s most worn-down roads, rebuild fire stations and repair other infrastructure. The HOST and SPLOST questions are paired together on the ballot so that both must pass to be enacted.
  3. Preserve an existing homeowners’ property tax break: The frozen exemption offsets DeKalb property tax increases caused by rising property assessments. Voter approval of this measure would make the frozen exemption permanent for as long as the revised HOST — if it passes — remains in place.

EARLY VOTING

Voters may cast their ballots in advance of Election Day on Nov. 7.

Two voting locations will be open Monday through Friday, from Oct. 16 to Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are the DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections Office at 4380 Memorial Drive and the Bessie Branham Recreation Center at 2015 Delano Drive NE.

The Dunwoody Library will host early voting for one week, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All three early voting sites are open for Saturday voting on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registered voters may vote in advance at any of the three early voting locations, but they must report to their assigned precincts if they wait to vote on Election Day.

CITY RACES

Most cities in DeKalb County have contested races for mayor or city council.

Candidates are competing for mayor in Atlanta, Chamblee and Clarkston.

City council races will be decided in Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Stonecrest and Tucker.

There are no elected county government positions on the ballot this year.

THE EMORY FACTOR

There are about 2,500 registered voters who live on 744 acres of Emory University-area property that might be annexed into the city of Atlanta.

If those voters want to cast ballots in the election for Atlanta mayor, they’ll have to wait until the annexation is finalized. Before then, they’ll only be eligible to vote on the DeKalb countywide referendums.

The Atlanta City Council could hold final votes on the annexation proposal Monday, Oct. 16. 

UPDATE (Oct. 17, 2017): The Atlanta City Council won’t vote on Emory’s annexation this month. That means voters in the Emory area won’t be eligible to participate in city of Atlanta elections this year, but they can still cast ballots on unincorporated DeKalb’s referendums on tax issues.

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