Charter amendments pass in Oklahoma City
Nine propositions to amend Oklahoma City's charter won approval by impressive margins Tuesday night.
With mail-in and early in-person votes tallied and all 234 day-of precincts reporting, all measures finished with margins of about 2-to-1 or greater.
Around 220,000 votes were cast on each proposition.
Mayor David Holt said keeping the charter up-to-date "is the kind of detail work that effective governments do."
"It’s not sexy, but it’s necessary," he said. "As always, we’re grateful for the voters’ engagement and trust."
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.
Several of the propositions on Tuesday's ballot were housekeeping measures to clarify language adopted years ago.
One change aligning the charter with the current practice of meeting every other Tuesday revisited a provision for weekly meetings adopted in 1927 and left untouched ever since.
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Three amendments fine-tuned election procedures, largely to align with state law.
The February city council and mayoral primaries become "general" elections and the April general election becomes a "runoff."
The city residency requirement to qualify for office becomes one year, instead of three.
Another measure extends from 15 to 30 days the city council's window to act if there is a vacancy in the mayor's office.
Adopted in 1927 and amended in 1975, 1994, 2003 and 2008, the language on mayoral vacancies is one charter provision that has been of particular interest to elected officials through the years.
Proposition 7 is a new section directing the City Clerk to edit the charter to substitute "councilmembers" or "councilors" for "councilmen," a prevalent term in the document.
Ward 8 Councilman Mark Stonecipher co-chaired a Charter Review Committee appointed by Holt to recommend updates.
The eight-member committee met monthly for five months. The city council voted unanimously to refer the committee's recommendations to voters.
The charter was first approved in 1911. This was the 14th time for it to be amended.
Stonecipher said voters "spoke tonight. They are happy with the direction our great city is heading."
Amendments need the governor's assent to take effect.