Alvin Fama of Broken Bow was excited last May about getting to vote in his first election since becoming a U.S. citizen. Voting is a privilege all too many of us take for granted.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are aware that elections are next week. While most attention has been focused on the presidential and senatorial campaigns, there are also a few local races of interest in the 2012 election.
Sales Tax Proposed
Two Custer County communities are asking their residents to vote on a proposed sales tax in those towns. Residents of the village of Ansley will vote yes or no to impose a sales and use tax of 1.50 percent, on top of the existing state sales tax.
The revenue from this sales and use tax would be used for capital improvements in the community, including public works and infrastructure, parks and recreation, streets, and planning and influencing economic growth. A vote for the tax would also be a vote for increasing the villageâ€™s budgeted restricted funds authority for fiscal year 2013-2014 by $50,000.
The city of Sargent is also voting on a sales and use tax, of 0.5 percent. The proceeds of this tax would be allocated to fund the Sargent Community Economic Development Program from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2028.
Going hand-in-hand with the tax request, the city of Sargent also has on the ballot the establishment of an Economic Development Program. Citizens will vote on whether or not to establish the program with annual appropriations from the sales and use tax, to be no more than 4/10s of 1 percent of the cityâ€™s total assessed valuation each year for the next 15 years.
Citizens in Anselmo will be voting on relocating the village clerkâ€™s office from the private home of the clerk into a public space within the village.
Local contested races include several school boards and a couple of village boards. For the Ansley Village Board of Trustees, six candidates are vying for three spots. Those candidates are Steven Bowers, Cheryl Byam, Jim Morgan, Lisa Fecht, Michelle Mills and Sara Garniss-Switzer.
The Anselmo Village Board of Trustees will fill three seats from the following four candidates: C. Maxine Taul, Scott Stupka, Jessica Burnett and Allen Cooley.
Four candidates are in the chase for three seats on the Anselmo-Merna Board of Education. They are Kevin Safranek, Joel Bartak, M. Jason Chandler and Joyce Christen.
Ansley School Board
The same is true for the Ansley school board, with candidates Janice Harrop, Neil Ostrand, Peter Cunningham and Jaimee Bailey contesting for the three available seats.
In Sargent, four candidates have filed for the three seats on the school board. They are David Hansen, Larry Gibbens, Matthew Smith and Chandra Horky.
Arnold School Board
The Arnold school district may have one of the most hotly contested school board races, with twice as many candidates as available seats. The six candidates running are: Duane Bowers, Diana Coleman, Tammy Weinman, Eric Nelson, Holly Hornung-Remund and Bobbie Jo Christensen.
Arcadia School Board
In Arcadia, seven candidates are in the race for the three available school board seats. Those candidates are: Jodi Bose, Norman Sillivan, Bill Staab, Jolene Greenland, Jess Trotter, Jamie Spencer and John Maschka.
Loup County & Sandhills
Both Loup County and Sandhills school districts have four candidates in the school board race. Running in Loup County are Jolene Skalsky, Robert Christensen, Kent Lewis and Stacey Dunbar. In Sandhills district the contestants are Tedd Teahon, Michelle Milleson, Tyson Cox and Mat Zutavern.
There are also four candidates in the race for Litchfield school board. They are Jim Holm, David Siegel, Eldon Epley and Julia Fieldgrove.
On the state level, the race which has garnered the most attention is that for U.S. Senate, where Republican Deb Fischer faces Democrat Bob Kerrey. While Fischer had a sizeable lead following the primaries in May, projections indicate Kerrey has closed the gap and could make it a tighter race than earlier anticipated.
And on the national level, Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama are running nearly neck-in-neck heading in to Tuesdayâ€™s election, making every vote that much more critical.
The polls will be open Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MDT). Identification is not required at the polling place, and any type of campaign items - such as buttons, t-shirts and stickers - are not allowed.
Custer County polling places for the 2012 election are as follows:
Mason City Community Building - Algernon/Elk Creek
Arnold Legion Hall - village of Arnold/Arnold rural/ Hayes II
Berwyn Fire Hall - Berwyn
Broken Bow Municipal Building - Broken Bow north/south/northwest/southwest
Merna Community Building - Kilfoil/Cliff
Sargent Community Building - Sargent city/ Sargent rural/West Union/ Corner
Callaway Senior Center - Delight & Custer/Elim/ Triumph/Grant/Wayne
Veterans Memorial Building, Broken Bow - BB north rural/Garfield/Lillian/ Milburn/BB south rural/east Custer/Ryno/Loup
Winter Memorial Library, Anselmo - Victoria/Hayes I
Oconto Community Hall - Woodriver
Ansley Municipal Auditorium - Ansley/Wester-ville/Myrtle
Comstock Community Hall - Comstock/Douglas Grove/Spring Creek
Polls are often busiest the first thing in the morning and later in the day when voters are going to and from work, so the best time to go is late morning or early afternoon. Regardless of what time of day you choose to go - just go! Voting is a privilege.