After more than three hours of debate and public comment at a special meeting Wednesday night, Columbia City Council voted 4-3 not to put a strong mayor referendum on the November ballot. Instead, they’ll hold a special election Dec. 3 — but only if and when they receive a certified petition from the Richland County Election Commission. Petition gatherers presented a petition calling for a referendum to the election commission last Tuesday, but the commission hasn’t yet certified it. Councilman Sam Davis was the swing vote last week to give initial approval to a November vote, but said he’d only give it final approval if the petition was certified.
“I stand on my position that I don’t think that I have the right to deny anybody the right to vote,” he said. However, “The position that I expressed was based on verification of the signatures. That’s the credibility I stand on.”
City Manager Teresa Wilson told Council she tried Wednesday to find out whether the petition is likely to be certified, but couldn’t get much information.
“We’ve ascertained from [county elections director] Mr. [Howard] Jackson: They are in a quality control process of the verification,” Wilson said. “I can gather from that that the verification process is over. He asks that we be prepared in the morning to come pick up information from him.” But she couldn’t find out whether that meant she’ll be picking up a certified petition, or information saying the petition isn’t certified.
Full Article: Strong Mayor Vote Bumped to December – Free-Times.com.