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Most City offices closed Wednesday, June 19, to observe Juneteenth

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Article 1 General Procedure

City Charter Article

Section 3-101 Time of Taking Office and Terms.

Except as otherwise provided in this charter, those elected take office on the January 1 following the general election in which they are elected and hold office for four years. If, at the end of a term, no successor is yet elected and qualified, the incumbent shall continue to hold office until a successor is elected and qualified.

Except as otherwise provided in this charter, at the November 2024 election, the Mayor and all Councilors from District No. 1 and District No. 2 are elected for a term of four years. At the same election, the Auditor and all Councilors from District No. 3 and District No. 4 are elected for an initial term of two years. At subsequent elections, those elected hold office for four years.

[May 3, 1913, new sec. 41; rev. 1914, sec. 123; 1928 pub., sec. 123; am. Nov. 8, 1932; 1942 recod., sec. 3-101; am. Nov. 6, 1962; May 18, 2004, sec. replaced; amended November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022]

Section 3-102 Ranked Choice Voting.

City Councilors, the Mayor and the Auditor are elected in the general election, except as otherwise provided in this Charter, using ranked choice voting. Ranked choice voting means an election method in which voters rank candidates for an office or offices in order of the voter’s preference and ballots are counted in rounds. The use of ranked choice voting must commence with the November 2024 election.

The Mayor and the Auditor are elected at-large using a method of ranked choice voting known as instant runoff voting. Instant runoff voting elects the candidate who has a majority of the vote after the initial round of counting based on the number of first rankings each candidate receives. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the initial round, subsequent rounds are counted in which (i) candidates retain the number of votes counted for them in the first and any subsequent rounds that already occurred; and (ii) the candidates having the fewest votes are successively eliminated in rounds and their votes are counted as votes for the candidates who are ranked next on the ballots that had been counted for the eliminated candidates. The process of eliminating candidates and transferring their votes to the next-ranked candidate on ballots repeats until a candidate has a majority of the vote.

Councilors of each district are elected using a proportional method of ranked choice voting known as single transferable vote. This method provides for the candidates to be elected on the basis of a threshold. The threshold is determined by the number of seats to be filled plus one, so that the threshold is the lowest number of votes a candidate must receive to win a seat such that no more candidates can win election than there are seats to be filled. In the initial round, the number of first rankings received by each candidate is the candidate’s vote count. Candidates whose vote counts are at least the threshold are declared elected. Votes that counted for elected candidates in excess of the threshold are called surplus. If fewer candidates are elected in the initial round than there are seats to be filled, the surplus percentage of all votes for the candidates who received a surplus are transferred to the next-highest ranked candidates in proportion to the total numbers of next-highest rankings they received on the ballots that counted for the elected candidate. If, after all surpluses have been counted in a round, no additional candidates have a vote count that is at least the threshold, the candidates with the lowest vote counts are successively eliminated in rounds and their votes are counted as votes for the candidates who are ranked next highest on the ballots that had been counted for the eliminated candidates, until another candidate has a vote count that is at least the threshold or until the number of candidates remaining equals the number of seats that have not yet been filled. The process of transferring surpluses of elected candidates and eliminating candidates continues until all positions are elected.

The Council must adopt an election code for the administration of ranked choice voting. The City must conduct periodic voter education campaigns to familiarize voters with the ranked choice voting methods described above.

[Section replaced November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022.]

Section 3-103 General Elections.

A general municipal election shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in each even numbered year. [May 3, 1913, new sec. 43; rev. 1914, sec. 125; 1928 pub., sec. 125; am. Nov. 8, 1932; 1942 recod., sec. 3-103; am. Nov. 6, 1962.]

Section 3-104 Special Elections.

The Council shall have power to call special elections and shall set up procedure for calling such special elections by ordinance. Thereafter, filing dates for measures to be presented at such special elections shall be changed only by regular ordinance, except for correction of errors or omissions in the general ordinance. [May 3, 1913, new sec. 44; rev. 1914, sec. 126; 1928 pub., sec. 126; am. Nov. 8, 1932; 1942 recod., sec. 3-104; am. Nov. 6, 1962.]

Section 3-105 Nonpartisan Elections.

The elective offices of City Councilors, the Mayor and the Auditor are nonpartisan.  [May 3, 1913, new sec. 45; rev. 1914, sec. 127; 1928 pub., sec. 127; am. Nov. 8, 1932; am. Nov. 6, 1934; 1942 recod., sec. 3‑105; am. Nov. 6, 1962; amended by Ordinance No. 190204, effective December 18, 2020; amended November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022]

Section 3-106 Elections Procedures.

The Council shall adopt by ordinance procedures for conducting City elections. [Ch. 1903, sec. 23; rev. 1914, sec. 128; 1928 pub., sec. 128; am. Nov. 8, 1932; 1942 recod., sec. 3-106; am. Nov. 6, 1962; am. May 18, 1994.]

Section 3-108 Independent District Commission.

The authority to adopt plans that specify the boundaries of districts for the City Council is vested in the Independent District Commission. The Commission consists of thirteen (13) residents of the City who represent a diversity of race, gender, age and geography. Elected or appointed City officials and employees, and candidates for elected City office who have filed and been qualified to the ballot by the City Elections Office, are prohibited from serving on the Commission. 

The Mayor appoints members of the Commission, subject to confirmation by the City Council. The first Commission must be confirmed as soon as practicable but no later than January 31, 2023. Thereafter, the Commission must be confirmed by March 31 in every year ending in “1.” The Commission’s term ends upon adoption of a districting plan. 

The Commission may require bureaus and departments of the City to provide technical assistance. The Commission has a budget as provided by the City Council. [Section added November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022.]
 

Section 3-109 Powers and Duties of the Independent District Commission.

The Commission prepares and adopts a districting plan for dividing the City into four (4) districts for the election of City Councilors. The plan includes a map and a description of districts. 

The vote of at least nine (9) members of the Commission is required to adopt the districting plan. A majority vote of the Commission is required for all other actions. 

The Commission holds at least one (1) public hearing before it develops the districting plan to seek public comment on whether any plan criteria, in addition to the criteria set forth in Section 3-110, will be considered. 

The Commission holds at least two (2) public hearings in each proposed district not less than one (1) month before it votes to adopt the plan. The Commission makes its plan available to the public for inspection and comment not less than one (1) month before the public hearings in each proposed district. The first Commission adopts its plan by September 1, 2023. Thereafter, the Commission adopts its plan by September 1 in every year ending in “1.” If the Commission adopts a plan, no further action by Council is required and the plan is final. If the Commission has not adopted a plan after taking two votes, the most recent version of the plan voted on by the Commission passes to the City Council for its consideration and adoption. The plan is effective when the Commission or the City Council files it with the City Elections Officer. 

No change in the boundary of a district caused by annexation to the City or withdrawal of an area from the City may terminate the office of any Councilor. Upon an annexation or withdrawal, the Mayor may, but need not, initiate the creation of an Independent District Commission to redraw district boundaries. Upon an annexation with no adjustment to a district boundary, the annexed area becomes part of that existing district with which it is most contiguous. [Section added November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022.]

Section 3-110 District Plan Criteria.

The Commission, or the City Council if the Commission is unable to adopt a plan, ensures that each district, as nearly as practicable, will be contiguous and compact, utilize existing geographic or political boundaries, not divide communities of common interest, be connected by transportation links, and be of equal population. No district may be drawn for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent elected official or other person. No district may be drawn for the purpose of diluting the voting strength of any language or ethnic minority group. Additional criteria may be considered, consistent with state and federal law. [Section added November 8, 2022, effective December 14, 2022.]

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