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Marion County delays decision on ballpark sales-tax referendum

Proposed Ocala ballpark

A decision on a public referendum covering a sales-tax hike for a new Tampa Yankees (High Class A; Florida State League) ballpark in Ocala has been delayed by Marion County commissioners until later in December.

Really, the decision has little to do with the merits of a sales-tax hike and more to do with whether voters should be required to turn out to the polls or offer their vote via mail-in ballot. At least one commission has expressed doubt as to whether a mail-in vote could be totally clear of voter fraud — and we know voter fraud is a right-wing meme these days.

The proposed referendum would add a half-cent sales tax for five years in Marion County to help pay for a new Yankees ballpark, which could open for the 2016 season. The referendum would take place in April. From

Instead, the commission voted 4-1 to have an ordinance drawn up that includes language for both the all-mail and traditional ballot for selection by the board at its Dec. 17 meeting. Commissioner David Moore was the dissenting vote. He wanted the election pushed back to August 2014 when the primary elections would be held.

What is being labeled as “traditional” is the election process where, historically, voters go to the polls, vote absentee or do early voting. The “all-mail” version would entail the Supervisor of Elections mailing ballots to every one of the roughly 216,000 qualified Marion County voters, who would vote by mail or bring ballots to the elections office.

Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox told the board this morning that he could run either type of election, but in order to conduct a special election on March 18 as proposed, he would need to know by Dec. 17 if the commission even wants the sales tax question to go on the ballot for the voters to decide.

RELATED STORIES: Marion County to take up Yankee ballpark funding Tuesday; Next step for new Ocala ballpark: sales-tax approval; Tampa Yankees on verge of move to Ocala; Ocala, Tampa Yankees talking new ballpark


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