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Cobb SPLOST Referendum Barely Passes

Unofficial final results give "yes" votes a 79-vote edge as county officials brace for a possible recount.

By a  razor-thin margin, Cobb County voters on Tuesday approved a four-year, $492 million referendum that will extend the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to pay for a wide range of transportation, facilities, public safety and parks and recreational improvements.

But the vote might be heading for a recount. 

Final unofficial results tabulated by the Cobb Board of Elections showed that 21,525 votes were cast in favor of the SPLOST, or 50.09 percent of the vote, and 21,446 votes were opposed, or 49.91 percent, with all 153 Cobb precincts reporting. Those numbers include absentee ballots and the results of early voting. 

That's a difference of 79 votes, and typified the tight results that swung in either direction several times during the vote-counting Tuesday night. 

That margin of 0.18 percent was even closer than the September 2005 election that enacted the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax by a comparatively easy 114 votes.

There’s no reason to think that the fierce battled waged between advocates and opponents of the SPLOST extension has come to an end.

As questions arose during the night about recounts of the paper absentee ballots and recanvasses of the electronic votes, Cobb County officials didn’t have the answers yet.

The “current goal is getting an accurate count of the votes cast,” Cobb government spokesman Robert Quigley said in an e-mail at 9:50 p.m. “We will focus on the next steps once we complete the task at hand.”

Quigley said the elections board’s attorney should be able to provide answers Wednesday about what happens next.

The vote lead went back and forth between approval and rejection from the time the first numbers came out around 7:30 until the final numbers arrived three hours later.

While the sales tax held the lead most of the night, the “no” side moved ahead by 56 votes in the second-to-last release of vote totals from the Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration. But the final six precincts reversed the result and pushed the SPLOST to the unofficial victory.

That excitement came after a day featuring light turnout across Cobb. Less than 11 percent of the active registered electorate of 392,589 voted in an election with only one issue: whether to extend the SPLOST for four more years.

An estimated  of the new SPLOST will be spent on projects in East Cobb. The current SPLOST is set to expire at the end of this year. 

Cobb County SPLOST Referendum Results

153 of 153 precincts reporting Yes No Should Cobb County collect a 1 percent SPLOST for capital projects from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2015? 21,525 21,446 Percentage 50.09% 49.91%

Unofficial results from the Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration as of 10:40 p.m.

the legal beagle March 17, 2011 at 12:33 AM
I resent it when people think that the elderly voted against this issue. I am happy that I am not responsible for school tax. I paid the school tax while both children and both grand-children were in school. Now it is their turn to pay for their children. I view the SPLOT tax the same as I view upkeep on my home. Having a nice area to live in is something I enjoy and is an asset. My most driving reason for going and voting YES was being annoyed by tea baggers like Bob Barr. I am surprised that they didn't call in Palen. I am 73 yrs old, white and female. Who would have thougt it?
Vote Again March 17, 2011 at 12:38 AM
My family is solid Cobb County Republicans; I think the current property tax is fair (Seniors shouldn't pay for schools) and a SPLOST is a great way to keep Cobb DEBT FREE...and isn't that what conservatives are support?
M Robertson March 17, 2011 at 04:12 PM
No, most present day conservatives don't support much except cutting taxes for large corporations and the wealthy, which increase debt. What conservatives went on the record as supporting SPLOST?
Leo K. Freeman March 17, 2011 at 11:35 PM
No one has even answered my question. What is the Cobb County Government doing with the money it is already collecting? Why must it always be more? Some of these projects this tax is supposed to fund are totally ridiculous. For example, medians on Windy Hill Rd?? Why? It will be nothing but a traffic nightmare during construction and a mess afterward. Keep the turn lane intact so people can get in and out of the businesses easily.
the legal beagle March 18, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Leo--we read you the first time.

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