Weatherford Democrat

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October 19, 2013

Should there be options for filling short-term city council vacancies?

Proposition 7 on the Nov. 5th ballot would authorize a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter a procedure other than a special election to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.

Passage of Proposition 7 would allow filling short-term vacancies by appointment or other means.

Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., the legislative author, says voters should consider supporting the proposition because, “Prop. 7 is an efficiency measure that allows certain cities to fill vacancies with a remaining term of 12 months or less by appointment rather than the costly special election process. Prop. 7 would greatly benefit the affected cities and candidates during these difficult financial times.”

For others, voting and elections are the best way to ensure democratic accountability, and the cost of special elections is a small price to pay to ensure accountability.

“Only Texans who vote will have a say on whether the Texas Constitution should allow more flexibility in filling short-term city council vacancies,” says Linda Krefting, chair of the League of Women Voters of Texas Education Fund. “Those who vote will also have a say on whether additional ballot propositions addressing property tax exemptions, reverse mortgages for seniors, and funding for water become part of the Texas Constitution.”

The nonpartisan LWV-Texas Education Fund Voters Guides for the Constitutional Amendment Election with the ballot language, an explanation, and balanced arguments for and against each proposition plus helpful information on the new photo ID requirement and other aspects of voting are available in English and Spanish at www.lwvtexas.org and www.VOTE411.org. Print copies will be available through many libraries and distribution by local Leagues. A Constitutional Amendment page on www.lwvtexas.org provides additional information on the constitutional amendment process and proposals considered by the 2013 Texas Legislature.

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