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Columbus Voters Take Interest In Special Election

Voters have been casting their absentee ballots for the proposed income tax increase for three weeks - and the number of absentee ballot requests indicates more people than usual could turn out to vote.

Columbus voters will cast their ballots next week on whether to raise the income tax increase from two percent to two-and-a-half percent. But for the past three weeks voters who can not make it to the polls have been casting absentee ballots. Franklin County Board of Elections spokesperson Ben Piscitelli said three times as many Columbus voters have requested absentee ballots for next week's special election than they did in the May primaries when a county-wide parks levy was on the ballot.

"There is an apples to apples comparison for the Southwestern School Levy. It was on the ballot and failed in May. And the demand for absentee ballots in that district has doubled for this election," Piscitelli said.

Piscitelli said more than 14,000 voters have requested to vote by absentee for next week's election. He said typically about ten percent of registered voters take part in special elections. But with the publicity surrounding the measure, Piscitelli says that number could be higher.

"And I think the demand for absentee voting reflects that. And we want voters to know we'll be ready in any event. Two-thirds of our precincts are open for this election and every one of them will be fully staffed," he said. If the measure passes next week, it will be the first time in almost three decades that the city has raised its income tax.