Briley declares victory in mayor's race

(WSMV file photo)

UPDATE: Voters in Williamson County have approved increasing sales tax from 2.25 percent to 2.77 percent to pay for new school buildings.

Out of the 12,365 ballots cast, 66.1 percent (or just over 8,000 voters) voted for the increase, while 33.9 percent (just over 4,000) voted against the referendum.It may feel strange to say it in February, but for some in Middle Tennessee, Tuesday was election day.

Williamson County voted on a sales tax increase Tuesday.

it was a bit quiet on Tuesday as voters headed up the stairs at Westhaven Clubhouse, usually one of the busiest polling locations in Williamson County.

"Most of the precincts I visited are averaging about 10 visitors per hour," said Williamson County Administrator of Elections Chad Gray. "That's not very good."

Gray said a presidential election would bring out an 80 percent voter turnout in early voting.

Going into Tuesday, only 4.5 percent of registered voters voted on the sales tax increase. That's just over 6,000 votes.

Gray is still waiting on final numbers after election day.

"This is an extremely low turnout so far," he said.

Here's what's at stake:

The vote will determine if the county's sales tax will rise from 2.25 percent to 2.77 percent, the maximum amount allowed by law. The money will go toward construction of new school buildings.

Some voters like Bill McBee said they voted for the tax just because they prefer it over a tax on something else.

"They're going to get the money anyway," McBee said. "I'd just rather it be in the sales tax than a property tax."

Gray said there are reasons relatively few are making their voices heard.

"This is a sort of odd time of the year to have an election," he said. "It's the first Tuesday in February. There's only one measure on the ballot. You're either for or against the sales tax increase."

Gray said there's another factor involved in why Tuesday's been fairly slow.

He's noticed most who came out during early voting on this issue were people who have lived in Williamson County four or more years.

"Our more recent registered voters are not participating so far," Gray said.

Polls are open in Williamson Co. until 7 p.m. For voting locations and live results, click here.

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