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Informer: Law details ordering of candidates on ballots

Last Modified: Sunday, November 25, 2012 9:59 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

What determines the order on the voting ballot? I noticed that the Democratic Party was listed first. Who determined that the Democratic Party would be listed first?

See Louisiana R.S. 18:1259: “In preparing the ballots, the secretary of state shall arrange the names of the candidates of recognized political parties alphabetically, according to the names of the parties, followed by the names of the candidates nominated by nominating petitions and by the filing of notices of candidacy, listed alphabetically by designation of political principal.”

Online: www.legis.state.la.us.


‘Points’ a form of prepaid interest

When buying or selling a home, what are points?

“A point is a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount,” reads a mortgage primer at Bankrate.com.

“A 30-year, $150,000 mortgage might have a rate of 7 percent but come with a charge of 1 point, or $1,500.”

Definitions of the two kinds of points, as listed on the site:

Discount points — These are actually prepaid interest on the mortgage loan. The more points you pay, the lower the interest rate on the loan and vice versa. Borrowers typically can pay anywhere from zero to 3 or 4 points, depending on how much they want to lower their rates. This kind of point is tax-deductible.

Origination fee — This is charged by the lender to cover the costs of making the loan. The origination fee is deductible if it was used to obtain the mortgage and not to pay other closing costs. The IRS specifically states that if the fee is for items that would normally be itemized on a settlement statement, such as notary fees, preparation costs and inspection fees, it is not deductible.

Online: www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/mortgage-points.aspx.


US Savings Bonds available online

Could you tell me where I could buy U.S. Savings Bonds, since Capital One no longer sells them?

Certainly.

Since Jan. 1, Series EE Savings Bonds have only been available for purchase online.

The move, announced in July 2011, will reportedly save taxpayers $70 million over the first five years and is part of a U.S. Treasury Department all-electronic initiative.

In advance of the initiative’s public rollout, the sale of paper bonds via payroll plans was halted in December 2010 — a step Treasury officials have said will save $120 million over five years.

“Savings bonds are very much a part of this country’s history and culture, and will remain a part of America’s future — but in electronic form,” Public Debt Commissioner Van Zeck said in the news release announcing the end of paper bond sales.

“It’s time for us to take a 1935 model and make it a 21st century investment tool.”

Immature bonds that have been stolen, lost or damaged can be reissued in electronic or paper form, and financial institutions will continue to redeem existing paper bonds.

Online: www.treasurydirect.gov.

• • •

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com

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