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Victoria Antram

Victoria Antram is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at victoria.antram@ballotpedia.org.

Memphis, Tennessee early voting begins for October 3 election

Early voting began Friday, September 13, and extends through Saturday, September 28, for the October 3 Memphis city election. Voters will be electing the mayor, all 13 seats on the city council, the city court clerk, and all three municipal court judges, as well as one local ballot measure.
 
Twelve candidates are on the ballot for the Memphis nonpartisan mayoral election, including incumbent Jim Strickland. Other notable candidates include former Mayor Willie Herenton and County Commissioner Tamara Sawyer.
 
The ballot measure would increase the city’s sales tax by an additional 0.5% (from 2.25% to 2.75%) in order to fund health benefits and pensions to the levels provided in 2014 and 2016, respectively, for fire and police public safety officers. The measure would also earmark additional revenue for roads and pre-kindergarten education. The Campaign for Public Safety, sponsored by the Memphis Police Association and the Memphis Fire Fighters Association, was the primary proponent behind the measure and backed the petition effort that qualified it for the ballot. The proposed sales tax rate is the same as five other cities in Shelby County.
 
In 2014, the Memphis City Council voted to cut city employee benefits in order to pay down the city’s unfunded pension liabilities. The changes increased health insurance premiums by 24%; excluded spouses who could receive healthcare from their employer; and moved all employees with less than seven and a half years of city employment to a Market Based Cash Balance 401(a) Retirement Plan. The revenue from the 2019 initiative was earmarked for increasing public safety employee benefits.
 
The schedule and a list of early voting locations can be found below. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Thursday, September 26. On election day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
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Voters in Cary, North Carolina, must register by Friday the 13th to vote on two bond measures on October 8

Cary, North Carolina will head to the polls on Tuesday, October 8, for the mayoral and town council election. Voters will also decide two bond issues.
 
The first measure would authorize the town to issue $112 million in bonds to fund the expansion of existing parks and recreation facilities, as well as, construct and acquire new parks and recreation facilities. The town of Cary currently has more than 30 public parks, seven special use facilities, four sports venues, and nine staffed facilities.
 
The second measure would authorize the town to issue $113 million in bonds to fund improvements in local transportation. Proposed improvements include streets, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses, traffic controls, streetscape, and bicycle facilities. The bonds would also be used to acquire equipment and land necessary for the improvements.
 
In their annual budget discussion on May 9, 2019, the Cary Town Council decided that bond issues would not exceed a total of $225 million. The most recent approved bond issues were in 2012 and were used to fund fire, transportation, and park projects. The town reported that these projects are in progress or complete.
 
The deadline to register to vote in the October 8 election is Friday, September 13. Although the registration deadline is September 13, one-stop-voting, including same-day registration, is available during the early voting period. Early voting for this election begins September 18 and ends October 4. Voters can request a mail-in ballot through Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
 
During the 2019 election cycle, Ballotpedia is expanding its coverage of North Carolina in order to provide voters with a comprehensive statewide sample ballot. This coverage includes North Carolina elections spanning 503 cities, towns, and villages; nine school districts; and 17 special districts. Voters in many of these local jurisdictions will be voting in primaries or general elections on September 10 and October 8.
 


Phoenix voters defeat Propositions 105 and 106 no light rail and pensions

Phoenix residents rejected two citizen initiatives—Propositions 105 and 106—at the Aug. 27 special election. Proposition 105 would have terminated funding for future light rail expansion in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and to allocate revenue from the transportation tax towards other infrastructure projects. Proposition 106 would have required the city to limit budget growth and devote a greater portion of its budget to pay down its $4.5 billion pension debt.
 
The unofficial results indicate that both measures were defeated. Opposition to Proposition 105 led the race with 62.3 percent to 37.7 percent according to election night results. Proposition 106 was behind with 66.2 percent of voters against it. By the last election night report, about 90 percent of ballots had been counted.
 
Invest in PHX led the opposition campaign against both propositions. They held an election watch party in the heart of downtown Phoenix. When the unofficial results were reported, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego addressed the room stating: “I did not anticipate the national spotlight which would shine on our city about these ballot propositions. … We have said strongly we want to invest in the future of our city.” Invest in PHX raised $933,000 in campaign contributions according to pre-election reports that covered activity through Aug. 10.
 
Phoenix Councilmember Sal DiCiccio (District 6), who supported both initiatives, said, “Like many of you, I am disappointed to see tonight’s election results. I want to thank everyone who worked on these initiatives and who helped share our message throughout the city. You have my commitment that I will continue to fight for accountability and fiscal responsibility at the City of Phoenix.”
 
The support campaign for Proposition 105, Building a Better Phoenix, raised $488,000 in contributions according to pre-election reports. The Proposition 106 campaign, Responsible Budgets, raised $298,000.
 
The question of light rail expansion has been before Phoenix voters three times prior to Proposition 105. Voters have decided four other pension-related propositions since March 2013.
 


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