Appeal Likely Following Petition Ruling

Tulsans for Better Government files an appeal of Judge Sellers decision that there were insufficient signatures on the initiative petition to amend the city charter, making city elections nonpartisan.
The issue is whether the city general election of April 1, 2008, constitutes a “general election” for the purpose of establishing the required number of signatures for an initiative petition.
Judge Sellers ruled that since several precincts did not have a candidate from each party and; therefore, didn’t require a vote to elect a councilor even though there were citywide questions to be voted, it did not constitute a general election.
Those precincts were settled in the primary or the incumbent was unopposed either in the primary or general election as was the case of Councilor John M. Eagleton, the protestant. The result was that the more than 6,000 signatures obtained were less than 25 percent of the general election held April 4, 2006, and therefore, the petition was invalid.
The establishment of nonpartisan elections will result in a primary which will include all people filing for a city position to run against each other regardless of party affiliation. The two top vote getters will oppose each other in the general election regardless of their party affiliation. Most Municipal elections in Oklahoma and in the U.S. have this system.
Tulsa is an exception.
This is one of three recommendations that the Bipartisan Blue Ribbon Committee appointed by former Mayor Bill Lafortune recommended.
Tulsans for Better Government Contends that City issues such as law enforcement and pot holes are not partisan issues.
Current election campaigns show how badly Tulsa needs this change. Both mayoral candidates have engaged in partisan name calling and not debating city issues.



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