Oregon voters pass two of three city charter changes

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon voters approved two of three amendments to the city charter on Tuesday, according to unofficial results of the Lucas County Board of Elections.
        Voters supported an amendment that changes the composition and terms of elections by 70.11 percent to 20.89 percent. The board of elections had asked all of the cities in the county to look at their primary election dates.  Oregon’s terms start the first of December, whereas terms for other local governments begin January 1.
        The board currently is not allowed to begin the certification process until 10 days after the election. At least twice in Oregon in the last 15 years, the board wasn’t able to certify the election results until after the term was to begin in December. Now, Oregon terms will begin on January 1.
        An amendment to the charter that changes the way council vacancies are filled narrowly passed by a vote of  50.11 to 49.89. For a number of years, Oregon has had a system where the next highest vote-getter in an election automatically fills a vacant seat.
        Some people in favor of the current system believe it is less political for the next highest vote-getter in an election to automatically fill a vacant seat. It seemed fair. Then there’s some communities who prefer a system in which the legislative authority fills the vacancy until the next election. Those opposed to that argue there should never be a time when someone who wasn’t elected would automatically become an elected official. So city officials wanted voters decide on how to fill a vacant seat. With the vote on Tuesday, council now is in charge of who gets the nod to fill a vacant seat.
        Voters defeated a proposed amendment to the charter regarding nominations and elections by 64.46 percent to 35.54. It would have eliminated the primary election process if it had passed. Most cities have primaries on the second week of September. As local, state and federal election laws have evolved, it was not practical to have September primaries, get the election results certified and the absentee ballots returned in time for the November election. Also, it costs the city at least $50,000 to hold a primary election.
        “I’m surprised that one failed,” said Council President Tim Zale on Thursday. “That would have saved us money. I don’t think we will revisit it. The big charter change that was the most important to get passed was the amendment that changed the start of the terms to January.”


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association