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Voter registration ends today

Staff Writer

Today is the last day for those who plan to vote on March 21 to register.

A special Constitutional Amendment Election will be held across Alabama so voters can decide whether or not corporate income taxes shoudl be increased.

The proposed amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, if passed, will increase the state corporate income tax rate from the current rate of five percent to a rate of 6.5 percent. The increases will be on taxable income of corporations beginning with the 2001 calendar year.

Proposal of the tax increase is the result of the United States Supreme Court declaring Alabama’s franchise tax on out-of-state companies to be unconstitutional. As a result of that decision, the state stands to lose $120 million each year and the state needs the money generated from passage of the amendment to operate.

Until voters make that decision, the work is in getting ready for the special election.

"We’re just quietly doing our preparation work," said Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone.

For now, things like testing the voting machines and making sure the ballots are ready are the main things.

"In an election such as this, most of the work is logistical," Stone said.

Stone said he hasn’t heard any speculation about voter turnout for the special election.

"I don’t have a good feel for that," the judge said.

But, there is still time to register to vote since the deadline is today.

He said special elections "don’t bring out voters" like elections with candidates do.

For him, this election will be just the beginning.

In addition to running for re-election, he has to make sure everything is ready for the Republican and Democratic Primaries on June 6, followed by the run-offs two weeks later.

"As soon as this is over, we turn around and get ready for the June primaries," Stone said of the political season.

The General Election will be in November.