A Kansas law passed last year should give voters better access in the future to explanations of municipal ballot questions, deputy Topeka city attorney Mary Feighny indicated Thursday. Feighny responded after readers complained on The Topeka Capital-Journal’s website that a ballot question Topeka voters approved Tuesday wasn’t accompanied by an explanation of what the measure would do. Readers also were critical of the wording of the ballot question. … The ballot question specifically said: “Shall Charter Ordinance No. 114 changing the voting powers of the Mayor entitled: ‘A Charter Ordinance introduced by Deputy Mayor Denise Everhart, amending City of Topeka Code A2-24 concerning the duties of the mayor’ take effect?”
Topekans voted by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent to approve the question. It changes the city’s charter, which is essentially its constitution, to arrange for the mayor to have a vote on all matters before the council unless state law calls for the mayor to have veto power instead.
The Capital-Journal on Wednesday asked Feighny, Mayor Larry Wolgast and city attorney Chad Sublet to cite the state law that prevented an explanation of the proposal from being on Tuesday’s ballot.