Early Voting Takes Off For Crawford County Jail

A new jail facility is up for vote in Crawford County for the fourth time. Officials are hopeful voters will approve a sales tax for the planned jail, despite locals rejecting similar measures three times before.

“We`ve put out yard signs,” said Justice of the Peace Cathy Gifford. “We are going to do a mass campaign this weekend to put out signs and a direct mail piece.”

The vote is for a $20 million dollar jail on Highway 64 just outside of Van Buren. Before the jail can become a reality, though, voters must approve a three-quarters-of-a-cent sales tax increase.

Early voting began Monday, and Election Day is set for May 20.

“It’s a matter of law and order,” Gifford said.

The jail has failed several state inspections because of overcrowding and insufficient staffing. Crawford County Prosecutor Marc McCune has been active on Facebook, telling followers about inmates who have had to be released because of overcrowding.

“If somebody does the crime they need to do the time,” Gifford said.

Some in Crawford County said they are not going to vote for the measure, saying they do not need more taxes.

“Against it,” said Eric Sanders.

Sanders is a Crawford County voter and tax payer.

“Outrageous. You got taxes on top of it,” Sanders said. “You got taxes on food, taxes on everything. Why would you want more taxes?”

But early voter James Orr said the idea of criminals out on the streets is concerning.

“I voted for the tax,” Orr said.


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