Scottsdale voters approve changes to Charter regarding election schedule

Scottsdale residents voted Tuesday, Nov. 8 to adopt Proposition 490, which amends parts of the Scottsdale City Charter to clarify when elections are and when official candidacy begins.

According to unofficial results on the Maricopa County Recorder website, about 90 percent of votes went in favor of Prop. 490 as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.

With the voters’ affirmative vote, Scottsdale will amend parts of its City Charter, clarifying that elections will happen on the same day as state elections. Additionally, mayors and city council members elected will take office in the first regular meeting in January immediately following the general election.

“I am very pleased that so many voters saw value in Prop. 490, and am happy that the citizens of Scottsdale will finally have a City Charter that accurately reflects when our council elections are held and when our elected officials take office,” Carolyn Jagger, Scottsdale City Clerk, said in a Nov. 9 email response.

Since 2008, the city has had its elections in November because of the vague wording in the charter. The wording in the charter states primary elections shall occur on “the first calendar date authorized by state law.” If there is no such law, then primary elections shall be held on the third Tuesday in February.

The charter also states the general election “shall be held on the fourth Tuesday in March” if there is no state law authorizing the election to occur on the first calendar date.

Ms. Jagger said because the wording is vague on exactly when elections are, the hope of the proposition was to get the wording to match when the city actually has its elections.

“Our charter is our most important document,” Ms. Jagger said in a Nov. 9 phone interview. “It’s our constitution and it is good for the public to have a document that is clear. That’s the biggest thing.”

With voters’ decision to move forward with Prop. 490, changes to the charter will come once the governor has approved the changes, Ms. Jagger says.

“As soon as the governor approves it, I can amend the Charter to make the changes,” Ms. Jagger said.

Additionally, Ms. Jagger anticipates that process to take between 30 and 60 days, but she has seen it take longer to process.

While Ms. Jagger said she does not know exactly what voters’ reasoning for heavily supporting this proposition, she thinks voters wanting accuracy fueled the big push at the polls.

“I think they gave it consideration because they understood it wasn’t changing anything but we were trying to make sure the Charter was accurate,” she said. “I think they understood that and responded to that.”

Proposition 490 was part of Scottsdale’s general election, which included a mayoral race and a city council race.

Mayor Jim Lane was re-elected to office over challenger Bob Littlefield. Additionally, Virginia Korte, Suzanne Klapp and Guy Phillips all retained their seats on the council, according to the county recorder website.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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