CHEROKEE COUNTY – Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at various sites throughout the county as residents cast ballots for both state and local amendments, and – for some – a bond package designed to help rebuild Alto ISD campuses damaged by tornadoes earlier this year.
According to Cherokee County Election Department Deputy Voter Clerk Becky Slack, a two-week early voting period ended Friday at 5 p.m.
Turnout information traditionally is made available from the department on Election Day, but Slack said that overall, numbers are lighter, “and not as many people show up (to cast votes) as they do for a presidential year, which is a general election,” compared to Tuesday's amendment election.
Per state law, Texas voters must show a photo ID to cast a ballot; exceptions are allowed (see accompanying story).
Local issues on the ballot include:
• An Alto ISD special election for $10.5 million bond package – “Alto Independent School District Proposition A: The issuance of $10,500,000 bonds for school buildings, including a new high school and gymnasium, school sites, school buses and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.”
• The City of Rusk charter amendments election, which has 36 propositions, listed below:
– Proposition A: Shall Article II, Section 3 (Boards, commissions and committees) of the City Charter be amended to specify that all appointments of members of boards, commissions or committees of the City of Rusk, unless contrary to another provision of this Charter, or ordinance, or state law, and such appointments shall be confirmed by the City Council?
– Proposition B: Shall Article II, Section 6 (City Clerk/City Secretary) be added to the City Charter requiring that the terms City Clerk and City Secretary shall be used interchangeably, defining the City Secretary duties and various roles, as may be prescribed by State Law, the Charter, City Ordinance, or the City Council, naming the City Secretary as the custodian of the official seal of the city, and authorizing the City Secretary to appoint such assistants as may be authorized by the City Council?
– Proposition C: Shall Article II, Section 7 (City Attorney) be added to the City Charter to define the role of the City Attorney as the legal advisor of, and attorney for, the City of Rusk, all the offices and departments of the city, and he/she shall represent the city in all litigations and legal proceedings, unless the City Council should authorize the retention of outside firm or council to represent the City on a particular matter, and requiring the City Attorney to be licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, and shall have been engaged in practice of law at least five (5) years and authorizing the appointment of Assistant City Attorneys as necessary?
– Proposition D: Shall Article III, Section 2, (The City Council) be amended to clarify the meaning of the term City Council to include the Mayor unless specifically stated otherwise throughout the Charter, and to clarify the residency requirements of a council member, and to define when taxes become a past due obligation for a council member for the purposes of determining an individual's qualification to serve on the City Council, and a means of determining forfeiture of an Council member position in the event of disqualification or removal in the event of a conviction of a Council member of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude?
– Proposition E: Shall Article III, Section 3 (Filling of vacancies) be amended to require that in the event of a vacancy on the City Council, in which there is less than one year remaining in the unexpired term, the remaining members, by a majority vote, shall appoint a qualified voter from the vacant district to serve the remainder of the vacant term, but if the vacancy occurs with more than one (1) year remaining in the unexpired term, the City Council shall call a special election at the first legal opportunity to elect a successor to fill the unexpired term, and the City Council, by a majority vote, shall appoint a qualified voter from the vacant district to fill the vacancy until the special election is held?
– Proposition F: Shall Article III, Section 4 (The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore) be amended to specify that the first meeting of the City Council following a regular election may be held at such place as may be designated in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas, and to clarify the duties of the Mayor Pro Tempore, specifying that the Mayor Pro Tempore shall continue to cast his or her vote on behalf of his or her district?
– Proposition G: Shall Article III, Section 7 (Rules of Procedure) be amended to define a quorum as three members of the City Council and required three (3) affirmative votes to pass any order of business?
– Proposition H: Shall Article III, Section 8 (Rules of Procedure) be amended to require that the City Council shall order and hold all such elections, canvas the returns thereof and shall be governed by the general laws of the State of Texas relating to and regarding elections of municipal officers in the cities of its class in organization?
– Proposition I: Shall Article III, Section 9 (Election of City Council) be added to the City Charter to require a majority of all the votes cast for said place on the council, and in the event of no candidate obtaining a majority of applicable votes, require a runoff election for each place to which no one was elected be held no less than 20 days nor more than 45 days after the date of the final canvass of the main election, unless preempted by state law, and in such run-off election the two (2) candidates who had the highest number of votes for each place to which no one was elected shall be voted on again, and the candidate who receives the majority of votes cast for such place in the run-off election shall be elected to such place; however, should one of such candidates for office and place withdraw, die or become eligible, the other candidate for such office and place shall be declared elected to such office in place without a second election. Any tie shall be decided by lot in accordance with the election laws of the state of Texas?
– Proposition J: Shall Article III, Section 10 (Employment of past council members0 be added to the City Charter to bar a member of the Council from holding any other office or employment under the city government while a member of said Council, nor holding any paid employment under the city government within one (1) year thereafter?
– Proposition K: Shall Article IV, Section 1 (Appointment and qualifications) be amended to specify that not less than three (3) affirmation votes of the City Council are necessary to appoint a City Manager and specify that a City Manager need not, when appointed, be a resident of the City of Rusk; but shall, within six (6) months after such appointment, reside within the City during the balance of the tenure of his or her appointment, with up to a six-month extension granted by the City Council upon showing a good cause?
– Proposition L: Shall Article IV, Section 2 (Appointment and qualifications) be amended to clarify that the City Manager may be removed at the will and pleasure of the City Council by three (3) affirmative votes of the City Council?
– Proposition M: Shall Article IV, Section 2 (Appointment and qualifications) be amended by deleting paragraph (i) which reads “to be responsible for all city records” and renumbering the paragraph (j) as the new paragraph (i)?
– Proposition N: Shall Article VI, Section 1 (General powers) be amended to recite the Texas Local Government Code §51.072 as the governing statute?
– Proposition O: Shall Article VI, Section 4 (Codification of ordinances) be amended to require the full text of every ordinance be published on the City's official website at least thirty (30) days prior to becoming effective; however said ordinances shall not be required to be published in a newspaper, unless required by state law?
– Proposition P: Shall Article IX, Section 4 (Certificates of Obligation) be amended to allow require that once Certificates of Obligation are issued, the amount shall be budgeted to be paid back within twenty (20) years?
– Proposition Q: Shall Article X, Section 1 (Fiscal year) be amended to reflect that the City Manager can be a male or female?
– Proposition R: Shall Article X, Section 4 (Hearing and the adoption of budget) be amended to specify that three (3) affirmative votes of the City Council are necessary to adopt the city budget?
– Proposition S: Shall Article X, Section 6 (Amendment and supplemental budget) be amended to require three (3) affirmative votes of the City Council to authorize amendments or supplements to the original budget?
– Proposition T: Shall Article XI Section 2 (Amendment and supplemental budget) be amended to clarify that a special session shall be called by the City Secretary on the request of the Mayor or by the request of at least three (3) members of the City Council?
– Proposition U: Shall Article XI, Section 3 (Executive session) be amended so that the heading reads “Executive session and public comment,” and formatted so that each sentence making up the section is its own paragraph?
– Proposition V: Article XII, Section 3 (Zoning power) be amended so that Texas Local Government C §211.001 is recited as the governing statute?
– Proposition W: Shall Article XII, Section 11 (Sale of city real property) be amended to recite Texas Local Government Code, as amended from time to time as the governing state law and to amend of the term City Clerk to read City Secretary?
– Proposition X: Article XII, Section 14 (Rearrangement, renumbering and retitling of headings) be amended by adding a new section authorizing the City Council by ordinance, to renumber and rearrange all articles, sections and paragraphs, and amend non-substantive title headings of the City Charter or any amendments thereto, as it shall deem appropriate, and upon the passage of such ordinance, a copy thereof certified by the City Secretary shall be forwarded to the Secretary of State for filing?
– Proposition Y: Shall Article XIII, Section 3 (Form of petitions: Committee of petitioners) be amended to clarify that unless otherwise stated, the section shall apply to all initiative petitions, referendum petitions, and recall positions, and to reflect that the individuals referred to in this section may be male or female?
– Proposition Z: Shall Article XIII, Section 4 (Filing, examination and certification of petitions) be amended by deleting the words “compromising an initiative or referendum petition,” to clarify that this section applies to recall petitions, as well as initiatives and referendums and delete the word “regular” to require that the City Secretary certify the result hereof to the City Council at its next meeting, and substituting the terms “his or her” for “his/her,” “he or she” to “he/she” and the term City Clerk for City Secretary?
– Proposition AA: Should Article XIII, Section 5 (Amendment of petition) be amended by changing the heading to “supplementing of petition,” and specify that the supplementary petition containing additional signatures in the same manner as an original petition may be submitted within ten (10) days of notice that the original petition is insufficient, and provide that the City Secretary shall, within ten (10) days after such an supplementation is filed, make examination of the supplementary petition, and if the petition is still insufficient, he/she shall file his/her written certification to that effect in his/her office and notify the committee of petitioners of his/her findings, and no further action shall be had on such insufficient petition?
– Proposition BB show Article XIII, Section 6 (Effect of certification of referendum petition) be amended to apply to both referendum petition and supplementary petition thereto?
– Propositions CC: Shall Article XIII, Section 7 (Consideration by City Council) be amended to require that upon submission of a certified initiative or referendum petition from the City Secretary, the City Council shall proceed to consider such petition at its next meeting?
– Proposition DD: Shall Article XIII, Section 8 (Submission to electors) be amended to remove the words “therefore, of” and replace them with the word “or”?
– Proposition EE: Shall Article XIII, Section 9 (Form of ballot for initiated ordinances) be amended by removing the words “but any paper ballot used for voting thereon shall be for that purpose only”?
– Proposition FF: Shall Article XIII, Section 13 (Recall procedure) be amended to require that the qualified voters making said affidavit to institute a recall shall constitute the committee of petitioners, as defined in Article XIII, Section 3, and shall under oath, state that any alleged facts stated therein are true and correct to the best of their knowledge; however, no specific category of grounds must be alleged, but the reasoning for the necessity of recall of the officer against whom it is sought must be generally stated, with a separate affidavit required for each officer whose removal is sought, and the City Secretary shall have a form affidavit that shall be made available to the public, but need not be used, provided that any submitted affidavit be compliant with the terms of the City Charter, and requiring that after receiving such an affidavit signed by a sufficient number of qualified voters to serve as a committee of petitioners, the City Secretary shall issue numbered and dated copies of petition blanks, which shall bear the names and addresses of the committee of petitioners to said committee of petitioners?
– Proposition GG: Shall Article XIII, Section 14 (Recall petitions) be amended to require that a recall petition be returned and filed with the City Secretary while containing signatures of at least a thirty-five (35) percent of the total number of qualified voters as the day the petition is filed?
– Proposition HH: Shall Article XIII, Section 15 (Recall election) the amended to require the City Secretary to examine the recall petition within ten (10) days of filing, and if he/she finds it sufficient, require that he/she shall submit it to the City Council at its next meeting with his/her certificate to that effect, and notify the officer?
– Proposition II: Shall Article XIII, Section 18 (Limitations on recall) be amended to require the rejection of any recall petition against an officer filed within ninety (90) days after he/she takes office or during the final six (6) months of an elected official's term of office, and to limit a Council person or Mayor from being subjected to more than one recall election during a term of office?
– Proposition JJ: Shall Article XIII, Section 23 (Recall resulting in less than a quorum) be amended to add a new provision specifying that should multiple recall petitions reduce the number of serving City Council Member to less than a quorum, the remaining City Council members shall have the authority to continue to conduct City business, including filling vacancies and scheduling elections, and the in the event four (4) or more council members are recalled at one time, the remaining member or members shall constitute a quorum solely for the purpose of filling sufficient vacant positions by appointment, and to schedule elections as provided in the Charter, to provide for a quorum of four members, and if in the event that three (3) or more council members, none of whom are the Mayor, are recalled at one time, the Mayor shall have the right to vote for the limited purpose of filling vacancies of the City Council, and to schedule elections without necessity of a tie?