Charter Vote Unfolds in Gilmer County

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Charter Vote Unfolds in Gilmer County

Starting at 7:00 A.M., we visited each polling district in the county, surveying voters on the charter school referendum: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities. If passed, the amendment will create a state charter commission with the authority to approve charter applications otherwise denied by local boards of education. FYN would like to thank the citizens of Gilmer County for answering our polling questions this morning. Starting at 7:00 A.M., we visited each polling district in the county, surveying voters on the charter school referendum: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities. If passed, the amendment will create a state charter commission with the authority to approve charter applications otherwise denied by local boards of education.

We sampled 162 voters. Out of the 162, 81 said they voted for the charter school amendment and 81 voted against the amendment. Most voters said the wording of the referendum was confusing. In fact, at lease one voter at every precinct said he or she did not vote on the amendment because it was unclear as to what they were voting for. Also, voters both for and against commented that they did not like the way the referendum was worded. Voters also volunteered their opinions on the measure. Voters who voted “yes” on the referendum said they have a right to charter schools and the freedom of choice to send their children to charter schools. Voters who voted “no” said it’s not fair to take money away out of public schools to give to charter schools. They also felt the amendment would deprive them of local control. These opinions were not part of FYN’s initial surveyed and were given voluntarily.

Two residents voting “no” on the amendment called charter schools a modern-day form of segregation.

“Charter schools are for when you want to take your kids out of school because there are gangs,”

one voter said,

“Up here we have hunting clubs, so we don’t have to take our kids out of school and start charter schools.”

Another voter commented he was doing his civic duty by voting and that he had enough “change.” In fact, he said, he barely had enough change to get to the voting precinct.

Although FYN did not poll for presidential choice, most voters said they voted for Romney.

This poll was an unscientific poll, conducted to track the voting trend of the charter referendum. FYN will post the results of the election later this evening.

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