2:46 pm
Tue September 9, 2003

Alabamians Heading to the Polls

Alabama – Alabamians are turning out in large numbers today to vote on the biggest tax increase in state history, with the most recent polls showing the measure could be headed for defeat.

Governor Bob Riley made a last-minute pitch for votes this morning with media appearances as polls opened at 7 a.m. He predicts "horrendous" budget cuts if his plan fails.

Secretary of State Nancy Worley, the state's top election official, said early turnout was strong for a special election with only one question on the statewide ballot. She said -- quote -- "weather is good throughout the state, and there's no reason not to vote."

Special elections normally draw few voters, but Worley predicts 45 percent to 50 percent of Alabama's two-point-four (m) million registered voters would participate.

In Alabama's special election on creating a state lottery in 1999, 45 percent of the voters participated.