Voters will decide on revenue commissioner in run-off Tuesday

Published 4:27 pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Although a low voter turnout is anticipated for the upcoming Republican run-off election on Tuesday, several items on the ballot could bring voters to the polls.

“People need to get out and vote,” Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin said. “I think a lot of people don’t even know we are having a run-off election. We do have a local race that could bring voters out, but we are hoping people remember to go vote.”

Alabama’s run-off election is set for Tuesday with voting hours from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The statewide winners will be on November’s General Election ballot.

A local race for voters in Chilton County involves a new position of revenue commissioner with candidates Rex Cleckler and Tim Little appearing on the run-off ballot.

The new role of revenue commissioner will combine two offices—those previously filled by the tax assessor and the tax collector.

Currently, Cleckler serves as the tax assessor and Little serves as the tax collector. The newly elected revenue commissioner will not take office until Oct. 1, 2015, but voters will choose who should fill the position during the 2014 run-off election.

In June, Little received roughly 47 percent of the votes and Cleckler received roughly 38 percent, advancing the two to a run-off.

Current Chilton County Commissioner Joe Headley also appeared on the Primary Election ballot receiving roughly 13 percent of the votes.

The top two vote getters advanced to the run-off.

Another race some voters in Chilton County will see on the ballot Tuesday is the Senate District 30 race between Clyde Chambliss Jr. and Harris Garner.

After provisional ballots were submitted and counted from the June 3 Primary, the Alabama Republican Party confirmed there would be a run-off in the Alabama Senate District 30 race.

The race was too close to call after votes were counted on June 3 which resulted in provisional ballots having to be counted from the district covering all of Autauga and Coosa counties and portions of Elmore, Chilton and Tallapoosa counties.

Martin emphasized not everyone in Chilton County will have the option to vote for Senate District 30, but new district lines will allow some in the county to cast their vote for the race.

“Senate District 30 only covers Maplesville, South Chilton, Fairview, Enterprise and Verbena,” Martin said. “If you don’t live in those areas, you will not have the option to vote for the Senate District 30 race.”

Another race affecting Chilton County voters is the Alabama 6th District Republican runoff between Paul DeMarco and Gary Palmer.

The district encompasses Jefferson, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Coosa and Shelby counties.

A statewide amendment will also appear on the ballot—referred to as Amendment 1—which would make the cotton industry’s voluntary checkoff program a required payment.

The provision has support from the state’s farming community, including the Alabama Cotton Commission, Cotton Incorporated and the Alabama Farmers Federation State Cotton Committee.

“The research and cotton policies funded by the Alabama cotton check off program have kept our family farm in business,” said Autauga County farmer Jimmy Sanford in a release.

Sanford is also chairman of the Alabama Cotton Commission.

Cotton farmers created the checkoff in the 1970s to help their industry rebound from losing market share to man-made fibers.

Since then, Alabama farmers have paid a self-imposed fee for each bale of cotton sold. That money must be used for cotton research, educational and promotional activities.

Most notably, checkoff money helped fund research for the boll weevil eradication program, which increased yields and reduced pesticide use.

More recent research has helped farmers reduce yield losses from pests such as stinkbugs and nematodes while protecting the soil and environment.

Currently, the checkoff contains a refund option, which only 7-percent of farmers request.

However, those farmers have access to and benefit from checkoff-funded research and promotion without paying into the program.

“This amendment is a fairness issue with us,” Sanford said in a relase. “We think it’s time for all of us cotton farmers to have a uniform stake in what needs to be done.”

If the amendment passes, the commission would then be allowed to schedule a vote for cotton farmers to decide on the proposed change to the checkoff program.

Martin said voters heading to the polls will still be required to present a photo ID prior to voting.

The Voter Photo Identification Act, approved during the 2011 legislative session, went into effect in all 67 Alabama counties for the first time with the June 3 Primary.

“Voters will need to bring their ID,” Martin said. “This is also a Republican run-off so if a voter does not wish to vote Republican, they can request a ballot which will only have the statewide Amendment No. 1.”

A ballot for the July 15 Primary Runoff could include:

Chilton County Revenue Commissioner:

•Tim Little

•Rex Cleckler

Public Service Commission:

•Terry Dunn

•Chris “Chip” Beeker

Alabama Secretary of State

•State Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa

•Reese McKinney

State Auditor

•Jim Zeigler

•Dale Peterson

U.S. House District 6

•Paul DeMarco

•Gary Palmer

Senate District 30 Race

•Clyde Chambliss Jr.

•Harris Garner

Proposed Statewide Amendment No. 1

Proposing an amendment to Amendment 388 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 93.06 of the official recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, relating specifically to the assessments authorize for cotton producers to support a program for the promotion of the production, distribution, improvement, marketing, use and sale of cotton; to delete the requirement that assessments on cotton producers would be subject to refund (proposed by Act 2014-188).

•Yes to statewide Amendment No. 1

•No to statewide Amendment No. 1