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A P.S.A. from P.A.

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2010-10-18


Voters showing up at the polls on November 2 might come across a few confusing items on the ballot this year.

We’re not saying that they’re so confusing that it will lead to Florida 2000 style chaos and contention, but they might leave you mystified and discombobulated for a few moments in the voting booth.

For one, you’ll be voting twice on the US Representative for the 3rd district. On page one, you’ll find the vote for US Representative 3rd District for the two-year term ending January 3rd, 2013.

In any other year, that’s all you would need. But this year, you’ll also need to choose someone to fill out the remainder of former Representative Souder’s term — the term ending January 3, 2011. That choice is at the top of page 2 on the ballot.

But at this point, most people are probably aware that they’re going to be voting twice in the House race. Where things get a little more confusing is on page 5, where the untrained eye — meaning in this case anyone who didn’t go to law school — will be met with something that, while written in English, seems to resist understanding.

“Folks at the Allen County Election board told me that people have gotten to that page and have no idea what this thing is,” says Andy Downs at the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW.

The part begins: “Shall property taxes be limited for all classes of property by limiting the Constitution of the state of Indiana to do the following: (1) Limit a tax payers annual tax property bill to the following percentages of growth assessed value; (a) 1% for an owner-occupied primary residence; (b) 2% for residential property other than an owner occupied primary residence, including apartments; (c) 2% for agricultural land…”

We’re not sure we’re getting the punctuation right here, but you probably get the idea. It goes on for a little while longer, though not much. Downs has held a handful of public talks about this year’s ballot, and has discovered that quite a lot of people aren’t too sure what they’re being asked to vote “yes” or “no” on.

What is it? This is that amendment we’ve all heard so much about, the one that will put the property tax cap in the Indiana Constitution.

In order for the state constitution to be amended, the general assembly has to vote on items twice. They’ve done that, and now it’s your turn.

But as the Boy Scouts used to say — “Be Prepared.” You can familiarize yourself with what the ballot will look like for your particular area — and find out where exactly you need to go to vote, if you don’t already know — by going to the special page on the Allen County Election Board’s website at www.acimap.us/aceb.

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