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Clayton voters approve SPLOST V for education

Robert Arnell of Jonesboro braved early morning low temperatures to cast his ballot on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Robert Arnell of Jonesboro braved early morning low temperatures to cast his ballot on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Bobbye Finney, who manages the voter precinct on Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro, said 14 voters turned out to her precinct in the first three hours of voting Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

JONESBORO — Roughly two-thirds of the Clayton County electorate approve of extending the county’s 1-cent sales tax referendum for education for another five years, according to unofficial poll results.

Officials counted 47 of 60 precincts reported by press time late Tuesday evening with fewer than 8,000 voters deciding on the fifth Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. There were 4,934 in favor and 2,126 opposed.

SPLOST V would provide auxiliary funding for necessary school projects such as school construction and renovations, textbook and transportation purchases, and technology and security upgrades.

The current SPLOST IV expires Dec. 31, 2014. SPLOST V is projected to collect a maximum $280.25 million over five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

About 6 percent of the county’s 123,633 active voters turned out to vote on Tuesday’s countywide referendum.

Bobbye Finney, manager of the precinct on Battlecreek Road in Jonesboro, said only 14 ballots were cast by 10 a.m. at her precinct.

There are 2,635 eligible voters at the precinct. She said while some may have voted by absentee ballot or during the advance voting period, few of them turned out for day-of voting.

Robert Arnell of Jonesboro was one such voter at the precinct.

He said he has voted in every countywide issue for years and did so Tuesday on the sales tax for education referendum.

“I want to participate in everything that I can,” said Arnell. “We have to look out for the next generation and anything we can do to help support them, we need to do it.

“You wonder why things happen, ” he continued. “It’s because you don’t get out and do something about it.”