Pike County voters slam lottery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 13, 1999

Managing Editor

Published Oct. 13, 1999

Pike County voters rejected Gov. Don Siegelman’s lottery for education proposal with a resounding no yesterday.

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Fifty four percent of the 7,644 people in Pike County who cast ballots in yesterday’s election wanted no part of a lottery for education, falling in line with voters around the state who trampled Amendment 1 to the Alabama Constitution.

By 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Gov. Siegelman had accepted the defeat of the amendment.

"The people of Alabama have spoken," he said. "I accept their decision."

Sigelman called the battle for the lottery, "a tough fight" and vowed to continue to work to improve the state’s educational system in the coming months and years.

"Now is the time for us to unite for the single purpose of providing the best possible education we can for the children of Alabama," he said.

Pike County approved of Amendments 2 and 3 on yesterday’s ballot. Amendment 2 would phase out Alabama’s supernumerary positions for elected officials, opting to put them on state retirement.

Amendment 3 will allow municipal school districts to opt to elect school board members. Currently, county school districts elect members while municipal districts appoint them.

Tuesday was marred by high rainfall, which Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone believes may have been a factor in keeping turnout lower than many had anticipated.

"It has been my experience that weather does play a role in turnout," Stone said. "I feel as if the 42 percent turnout could have been close to 50 percent were it not for the rain."

Stone was hoping for higher numbers, but was encouraged by the support the people of Pike County showed the electoral process.

"Having seen the numbers in the last few elections over the last few years dragging in around 30 percent, I am encouraged by what I saw today," Stone said. "Our hope was to see 50 percent, but we showed definite progress."

New voting boxes at the precincts also proved effective, Stone said, bringing the Tuesday referendum to a smooth conclusion.

"It was very smooth," Stone said. "There are always some hitches early on with missing keys and getting the voting places open on time and that sort of thing. But all in all, it was a pretty good day."

Stone’s numbers were final Tuesday night around 9 p.m., including ballots from all of the county’s 29 precincts and 330 absentee ballots.

State projections showed that Amendments 2 and 3 would pass at press time Tuesday night.