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Polls will be open today for all southern Beaufort County voters, and it is important for this community to have a voice in the special election. Today is the day voters will fill the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence, who died
in August.' And today is the day Hilton Head Island voters will answer the tax increment financing question that has bedeviled town government for the past two years. Both decisions are important, and both deserve a high voter
turnout.' In the Congressional race, Beaufort County needs a strong voter turnout in an effort to be heard and taken seriously within the odd-shaped Second District. The district is made up of parts of 11 counties, and it stretches from
the coast to the state capital in the Midlands.' Three of the four candidates on the ballot are from Lexington County, outside Columbia. That shows where the power of the second district resides. Spence held the seat for three decades,
being elected 15 times by the support of a strong Republican base in his home county.' Beaufort County can make itself an important player in the politics of the second district only if large numbers of voters go to the polls.'
They will find a broad choice, with four candidates representing four political parties: Warren Eilertson of Beaufort, Libertarian Party; Steve Lefemine of Cayce, Constitution Party; Brent Weaver of Lexington, Democrat; and Joe Wilson of
Springdale, Republican.' A general election will be held November 2002 for a full two-year term.' The referendum within the Town of Hilton Head Island is not binding upon Town Council, but the voters are expected to decide the
controversial tax increment financing issue. Town Council supports a "yes" vote, which it says will help fund public projects that are needed here and give island taxpayers a better return on the amount of tax dollars they send to the county
seat. Opponents believe it is a risky financing method that is heavy on fees and interest. We do not see it as risky, and side with Town Council in believing it can help bring worthwhile capital projects to life.' Absent from today's
ballot will be a referendum question on Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants and bars in unincorporated Beaufort County. A petition drive was held to get that question on the ballot, but that was before county officials discovered state law
limits those votes to general elections. Perhaps it will be on the ballot next November.' But the choices on today's ballot need public input. The issues are clear, and it only takes a few minutes to vote. Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7
p.m. at 27 locations in southern Beaufort County. ' There is no excuse not to vote today.