Group Fighting TSPLOST's Ballot Wording
On behalf of the Transportation Leadership Coalition, an attorney has made a formal inquiry on the Georgia secretary of state for "promotional language."
The Transportation Leadership Coalition has taken the first step towards challenging Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for adding what they call "promotional language" to Referendum 1 on the July 31 ballot.
Commonly called TSPLOST, Referendum 1 is a proposed multi-billion-dollar transportation program funded by a 1 percent sales tax. Residents of the 10-county metro Atlanta region will vote on the referendum during the July 31 non-partisan and primary elections.
“We are disappointed that our elected officials would act in such a corrupt manner,” coalition Chairman Jack Staver said in a news release. “Our leaders know this proposed tax can’t stand on its own merits. So they have resorted to backroom trickery, deceit and misleading the people of Atlanta and Georgia.”
The question on the ballot reads:
“Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.
Shall Cobb County's transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?”
You can vote in Patch's poll on whether you feel this language is appropriate for voters to read on the ballot.
On behalf of the coalition, Atlanta attorney Pitts Carr is questioning "political interference" on the upcoming ballot.
"The Secretary of State took responsibility for the language and the unprecedented act of modifying the ballot with no apparent legal authority," he said in the release.
Carr has made a formal inquiry (see attached) that directs Kemp to cite the legal authority for adding the preamble language (see above sentence in bold).
Carr’s letter, in part, reads:
“Secretary of State Kemp concluded that the preamble 'is referenced in the original legislation.' Nowhere does that language appear in O.C.G.A. 48-8-240 ... To the contrary, the ballot language was specifically directed by the legislature as noted above.”
Additionally, Carr has initiated a public records request of all documents relevant to the TSPLOST.