Half-cent tax too much for Leon voters

The gloomy weather did not stop plenty of Leon county voter’s from making it to the polls, Tuesday. Leon county residents voted no on the half-cent sales surtax that would have provided health care to Leon County’s medically uninsured.

Chynell Sanders said that she voted no on the local referendum simply because of the tax increase.

“They’re always trying to change something,” said Sanders, a 25-year-old elementary education senior from New Jersey. “If things are OK the way they are, then why change?” she asked.

Another reason Sanders voted no on the referendum was because she did not see how the referendum would affected her. “When I vote, I vote for me.”

People who the health care referendum would have benefited, like Fronia Dupree, a faculty member in the Florida A&M University Office of Graduate Studies, voted for the half-cent increase.

“There’s so many people withoutadequate healthcare,” Dupree said. “I’m getting ready to retire and it’s going to be a big issue for me to afford health care.”

The other issue that was fresh on the minds of people entering the polls was Amendment 3, which proposed that in order for an amendment to be passed, 60 percent of the voters must vote for the initiative as opposed to the current majority vote needed.

Sanders said she actually had to contemplate that amendment when she was completing her ballot.

“Although the majority of the vote is better than two-thirds vote, I was conflicted because I didn’t know which was best for me,” Sanders said.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said turnout was a little lighter than expected due to the early morning rain. Sancho and his office predicted around 5 p.m. Tuesday that only 50 percent of the registered voters would vote.

Bridgett Bradley, a 23-year-old senior psychology student from Atlanta, said students should have had a tremendous influence in the elections’ results.

“It’s important because a lot of people have a say so in how much gas is going to cost and why the light bill is going up,” Bradley said.

But Bradley said the problem she sees on campus is the fact that the main people who complain are people who are not registered to vote.

Although there are students who agree with Bradley, there are also people like Terrence Olive, who did not bother to vote.”I don’t think our votes count,” said Olive, a 24-year-old criminal justice senior from Miami.

Dinoushka Sada, 19, a political science Florida State University student, said there is a problem with people like Olive.

Sada, who is from Miami, said, “People in our generation don’t think in the long run. If everybody (voted), it would mean something,”

While some students stress the importance or insignificance of voting, some students said they believe people should make sure politicians speak for them.

“I think that it is important that these leaders remember the cries of the black people,” said Rashida Dobson, a 20-year-old junior nursing student from Miami. “They need to cater to both sides of the spectrum.”

Sanders wants students and blacks to make voting a priority. She said that when she went to vote in a white neighborhood she stood in a long line. But when her sister voted in a black neighborhood, she was the only one in line to vote. “Why is it that black people don’t make it a priority?” Sanders wondered.

Sancho said that it is just as important for students to vote as anyone else.

“This is how students give voice to their own opinions, ideals and beliefs,” Sancho said. “Voting is the only way to stand up and say ‘I matter.’ “

He said that if citizens failed to act Tuesday, they lost the ability to influence their government and their own rights.

“It is the only way that they can influence our government, whether they are a garbage worker or a millionaire,” Sancho said.