Fort Mill Times

Indian Land residents made their decision on becoming a town. It wasn't close.

The 'no's' take the vote in Indian Land

Nearly 90 percent of voters who cast ballots to decide whether to incorporate Indian Land voted "no" Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The Lancaster County, S.C. residents who voted "no" said their decision came down to taxes and "governmental layering."
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Nearly 90 percent of voters who cast ballots to decide whether to incorporate Indian Land voted "no" Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The Lancaster County, S.C. residents who voted "no" said their decision came down to taxes and "governmental layering."

Indian Land won't become a town, and it wasn't even close.

As results poured in Tuesday night it quickly became evident the push to make Indian Land its own town would fail.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Absentee votes were counted by 7:30 p.m. Unofficial results showed almost 87 percent of the votes were against incorporation. By 7:40 p.m. there were 1,626 votes counted and more than 87 percent were against. Votes from the individual precincts still hadn't come in.

Half an hour later, the River Road precinct came in at almost 82 percent against, followed by Possum Hollow at 60 percent.

Of 79 ballots cast at the Van Wyck precinct, not one supported incorporation. Turnout topped 36 percent there.

High turnout wasn't a surprise. By mid-day, election officials were reporting higher than average turnout at most of the 11 participating precincts.

Anti-town voters were celebrating online well before 9 p.m., with several precincts left to report, but the "yes" vote trailing by well more than 1,000 ballots and by hundreds at most of the reporting precincts.

By 8:40 p.m., 12 of 15 precincts had reported. Unofficial numbers showed 9,990 votes cast. More than 83 percent of them were against incorporation. Turnout ran north of 44 percent.

For anti-town voters, issues ranged from the size of the planned incorporated area to how feasible its funding structure was, to a dislike of new taxes and an overall distaste for more government.

Beverly Williams, one of several organizers behind the "no" movement, summed up what she saw as the major sticking points ahead of the election.

“I would ask (would be voters) if they wanted to pay more taxes and have an extra layer of government on top of what they already have,” Williams said. “Most people would vote no for that reason right there. And then I would ask them why they think a vote for a town would help them.”

The pro-town side tried to make its almost now-or-never case to voters, appealing to residents who may not be pleased with the way Lancaster County is managing a high-growth Indian Land area.

“If I could only make one point, I would say this is your one shot at local control,” organizer Matt McCusker said prior to the vote. “If we don’t create our own town now, a Lancaster County Council majority who doesn’t live here and who we can’t vote on will be controlling our fate for the next 15 years."

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