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5 reasons to vote in this election

11:10 AM, Oct 31, 2012   |    comments
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It's one week until Election Day, and by now you know that Tennessee is not considered a battleground in the presidential race, but there are reasons why your vote could still make a difference in this election.

From tax dollars to government power, the issues in this list will affect many thousands of East Tennesseans in some way. And with your vote, you have the chance to help enable them or stop them.

Reason One

We start with two items on the Knox County ballot that may look confusing. The city and county charter amendments are asking voters whether to stop enrolling future employees like police officers to the current pension plans, and allow new plans to be put in place.

Leaders say this will save millions of dollars, but the issue could affect recruiting.

"Government jobs don't usually pay like the private sector. One of the benefits to recruit for a life of public service is to get a good pension," said Maryville College associate professor of political science Dr. Mark O'Gorman.

Reason Two

Republicans need to pick up just two seats in the state House and Senate to reach a supermajority in those chambers. That would make it easier to advance a conservative agenda.

"There's a hope that their side will provide rewards to the people in their area that won, so that might get you in the voting booth," Dr. O'Gorman added.

Reason Three

But to reach that supermajority, the GOP needs to win races like House District 13 in the Knoxville area. For decades, it's been Democratic, but with Harry Tindell retiring, it's a contest between Democrat Gloria Johnson, and Republican Gary Loe.

They differ on many issues, including the use of school vouchers.

"I would not support it... Public tax dollars go to public education, and the point is to educate every child," said Johnson during a recent episode of Inside Tennessee.

"I'm for increasing student achievement and believe vouchers could do that," said Lowe.

Reason Four

Next we'll step away from Knox County and into seven towns that'll vote on liquor by the drink.

It could bring thousands into local economies like Pigeon Forge and Madisonville if passed. It's also a question of morals.

"It's a powerful value issue; it's also a business issue. If you're the restaurant owner, you'll be barkeep, you know you're losing money," said Dr. O'Gorman.

Reason Five

And if liquor doesn't affect you, more sales tax might.

Referendums to increase it will be on ballots in Blount and Campbell counties. Each would raise county sales taxes from 2.25 to 2.75 percent.

Blount would use the money for schools, and Campbell for road improvements.

Some political analysts believe turnout will be strong at the polls next Tuesday, not just because of the presidential pick, but also because of the issues we just explained.

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