Charter vote was nonbinding, but 90 percent voted anyway

charter graphic by Brian Hughes

Of 12,625 registered Crestview voters, 9,076 voted in the Nov. 6 election, and 8,114 voted on the city charter referendum, according to the Okaloosa County Elections Supervisor’s official results. Of those, 4,319 — 34 percent of all registered voters, 53 percent of those voting on the issue — voted against the proposal.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Their votes didn’t officially count, but that didn’t stop 8,114 of 9,076 voters from opining about a proposed city charter that would alter the city’s governance. Of those, 4,319, or 53 percent, voted against implementing the proposed charter. Almost nine of 10 voters in the last election voted on the charter ballot question, an analysis of official election results shows.

Speaking before the city council at its Monday meeting, several residents advised city leaders to take the results seriously — even if they’re nonbinding due to an administrative error. City leaders expect to revisit the issue with another referendum in March 2013, which drew criticism from some opponents.

“Are you going to bring it up every time there’s an election? It appears we’re flogging a dead horse now,” resident Dan Taggett said.

“This is like changing horses in the middle of the stream,” resident Landrum Edwards said. “We’re doing a do-over. This is like kickball when we were kids; you get to do do-overs. That’s what this council is doing right now.”

Holding the election again was a matter of fairness because some voters, she and her husband among them, didn’t vote on the charter referendum when they learned it was no longer a valid ballot issue, Councilwoman Robyn Helt said.

“The council’s not getting a do-over on this item,” Helt said. “We have an obligation to put it on the agenda so the citizens get a chance to say. The citizens deserve to have the opportunity to vote in a valid format.”

Elections Supervisor Paul Lux’s official results show 960 of the 9,076 Crestview voters who cast ballots on Nov. 6 skipped the charter question.



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