Johnston voters give green light on school spending

Four amendments pass, two fail

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Voters across North Carolina were given their chance to decide not only who represented them in government, also what they wanted from their government.

Tuesday’s election saw six constitutional amendments and several bond issues decided by the ballot box.

In Johnston County voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of bond issues, one for public schools and the other for Johnston Community College.

The county now has the go-ahead to authorize up to $61 million in general obligation school bonds, plus interest to finance, in whole or in part, the acquisition, construction and equipping of modifications, renovations, additions, improvements and extensions to existing facilities and/or one or more new buildings or other school facilities for Johnston County Public Schools. The bond includes acquisition of necessary land and rights of way and to levy additional taxes to pay the principal and interest on the bonds.

A total of 40,126 votes were cast in favor of the measure while 22,581 voters were against the issue. That’s 63.99 percent in favor as opposed to 36.01 percent against.

The numbers were similar in a referendum on the issuance of approximately $15 million in general obligation community college bonds, with the same specifics.

A total of 38,770 were in favor compared to 23,751 against. Again, 62.01 percent in support as opposed to 37.99 percent against the issue.

While Johnston County voters were helping to shape the future of education locally, voters across the state were asked to make changes to the state’s constitution and with the exception of two amendments, voted in favor of those changes.

Amendments to protect the right to hunt and fish, strengthen victims’ rights, cap the income tax rate at 7 percent and require a photo ID to vote all passed with varying degrees of success, while amendments regarding a nonpartisan judicial merit commission and a bipartisan board of ethics and elections were soundly defeated.

Strengthening victims’ rights saw the largest margin of support with over 62 percent of voters in favor compared to just over 37 percent against.

As far as the votes against, it was similar numbers in both amendments which were turned down. Judicial merit saw nearly 67 percent of voters against the measure with just over 33 percent in favor.

The story was nearly the same on the board of ethics and elections as over 61 percent said no and just over 38 percent said yes.

Voters in Harnett, Sampson and Johnston counties all sided — with similar numbers — as the remainder of the state.

The largest vote difference in any of the amendment decisions came in Johnston County where 74 percent of voters were in favor of strengthening victims’ rights.

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