With Signs And Landlords Quiet, Few Early Voters Heed WL School Levy

May 1, 2017

The referendum was originally approved seven years ago and would be continued at a slightly lower tax rate if voters agree to the proposal.
Credit Warsaw Community Schools / https://www.flickr.com/photos/95469015@N02/8707445809

Early voting on a funding question benefiting West Lafayette schools ended Monday at noon and has, so far, garnered little interest.

But election officials say that may be because there appears to be so little opposition to it.

County Clerk Christa Coffey says landlords – who’d have to pay increased property taxes on all their buildings if the vote passes Tuesday – are more ambivalent now than they were seven years ago when voters approved the first tax hike.

“I think that a lot of the oxygen was taken out of this effort when the landlords didn’t so actively fight it as the last time it was on the ballot," Coffey says. "So I don’t know if people just assume that it’s going to be okay so they’re not coming out to vote or if they truly are going to wait until Election Day.”

So far, less than five percent of eligible voters have cast ballots on the referendum question.

Coffey says the low turnout may be exacerbated by yard signs which have become ubiquitous across West Lafayette in recent weeks.

They did not originally include information indicating there was a referendum or when people could vote.

“I noticed myself because I drive through West Lafayette that they had added on ‘vote May 2nd,’ so hopefully that will drive more people to come out and cast a ballot,” Coffey says.

Instead, those signs reserved the largest lettering for a slogan urging support for the school corporation.