Q&A: What to know before voting on Oklahoma City's charter amendments
Do I care?
Yes, if you think it's important that the city's charter stay up-to-date. The charter outlines city government's organizational structure, specifies election procedures, authorizes the city council to pass ordinances and levy taxes, and governs contracting, among other necessities.
Do the amendments have to do with elections?
Yes, the first three fine-tune election procedures, largely to align with state law. Otherwise, the February council and mayoral primaries become "General" elections, the April general election becomes the "Runoff." The city residency requirement to qualify for office becomes one year, instead of three.
Anything stand out?
Elected officials tinker quite a bit with Article II, Section 10, outlining procedures if there is a vacancy in the mayor's office. That article was adopted in 1927 and amended in 1975, 1994, 2003 and 2008. Another amendment is proposed in November.
Will the update acknowledge the presence of women on the council?
Yes. Proposition 7 provides, for instance, for substituting "councilmembers" or "councilors" for "councilmen," a prevalent term in the document.
Does the charter direct city leaders to see to the general welfare?
Not right now. Article I, Section 3 grants power to enact and enforce ordinances to protect health, safety, life or property. Voters could add "welfare" to the list.
Housekeeping amendments more clearly state intent of several sections. Lastly, one would align the charter's language with the council's current practice of meeting once every two weeks for most of the year.
We vote Nov. 3?
Yes. Charter amendments will appear on a separate ballot for city residents at the Nov. 3 election, which includes races for president, U.S. Senate and House, and the Legislature. Amendments need a majority — 50% plus one — to be adopted.