Carter County citizens who wish to participate in the county’s special election on renewing two sales tax measures will need to register by Friday.
The Carter County Board of Commissioners are asking citizens to renew the one quarter of one percent sales tax for providing funds for technology equipment and instructional classroom materials for all common school districts in the county, and the one quarter of one percent sales tax for constructing, repairing and maintaining county roads and bridges.
The election will be held Oct. 10.
Currently Carter County citizens already pay these sales taxes, but they expire in December. If approved the taxes will be levied for five more years.
“It’s important to go out and vote,” said Bill Baker, Carter County Commissioner for District Two. “When you vote you have a voice in your community. Every vote counts and every vote is important.”
In order for Carter County residents to register to vote in the election, citizens must be 18 years old, be United States citizens and  residents of Oklahoma.  Those who aren’t registered or need to change their registration may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday.
Any application postmarked after that time will still be processed, but not in time to vote in the special election.
Lizabeth Hall, board secretary for the Carter County Election Board, said it’s important that everyone know the County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application. The response either contains a voter identification card, or a reason why the application was not approved. She added that anyone who does not receive a response within 30 days should contact the County Election Board office.
In renewing the sales tax, the county commissioners hope to continue helping schools purchase technology to be used for classroom instruction that they may otherwise not be able to afford like computers, software licenses, and tablets.
“This is a pre-existing tax, so no one’s taxes will increase,” said Jerry Alvord, Carter County Commissioner for District Three. “The schools have relied on this money for the last five years to fund technology for their classes. You can’t put a price on education.”
The special election is estimated to cost the county around $10,000- $12,000. Carter County Commissioner for District One Joe David McReynolds said the commissioners want to renew the tax because state budget cuts have made this tax crucial in funding the services the county provides.
“They keep cutting money back at the state level,” he said. “Hopefully, the state gets back on their feet and we won’t have to renew the tax again. A lot of the roadwork I’ve been able to do since I’ve been in office is a result of this tax. I’m able to use the money we have to go out for matching grants, and without the tax I wouldn’t have the money to match those grant funds.”
According to Hall, the commissioners could have saved approximately $8,000 by rolling these tax questions into the last general election in November, but Reynolds said he wasn’t sure then they wanted to renew the tax because it was unclear what the state’s budget would look like.
This year the Oklahoma Legislature cut funding to county roads and bridges by $50 million— marking the fifth year in a row that county funding has been cut at the state level.
“We rely on this money to keep our roads safe,” Alvord said. “We would hate to lose this because it would mean cutting back services to our citizens. The state has already cut our revenue streams, so to have local streams cut too, we would have to scale back.”
Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 106 Hinkle Street in Ardmore, at most post offices, tag agencies, and public libraries in the county. Online applications can also be found at www.elections.ok.gov.