Charter election set for Tuesday

September 5, 2013

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, for the City of Altus Special Municipal Election. The election will be either for or against the proposed City Charter. Representatives spend weeks putting together a charter for the citizens of Altus, held a town hall meeting on the matter, and welcomed any and all input. The proposed charter establishes our form of government as “Council-Manager” (as opposed to the current “Statutory Aldermanic”). The draft charter shifts the structure and power of our municipal government by removing the broad administrative powers of the Mayor’s office and assigning “CEO” responsibilities to a City Manager. City Council becomes more like a board of directors and has greatly reduced involvement in day-to-day administrative and operational matters. The mayor becomes a voting member of council and retains ceremonial and representation duties.

Offices such as Police Chief, City Clerk/Treasurer and City Street Commissioner are to remain as elected positions. Qualifications for these offices are spelled out in the charter.

City Council salary has been removed and replaced with a monthly miscellaneous-expense payment of $200. (Other expenses are reimbursed as submitted and approved). Council and Mayor shall be subject to term limits. Basically, no one can serve more than 16 years total.

City Council shall be elected both “at-large” and “in-ward-only”. A hybrid election process will seat 4 council members by ward-only voting at every other election cycle, with the other cycle having council members elected at large. Each ward will continue to have 2 seats, one at-large, one in-ward.

A provision for amending or changing the City Charter is also spelled out. Basically, the charter cannot be changed without a vote of the people. (Council, Mayor, City Manager, etc… cannot change the charter.

To read the complete charter, visit:


Jennifer L. Wilson, Secretary of the Jackson County Election Board, offered voters some tips on how to make their votes count.

Wilson said that a valid marking, fill in the box next to your choices, is shown on posters at the polling place and inside the voting booths. If voters make mistakes marking their ballots, Wilson said they should not try to correct those errors. Instead, voters should return the spoiled ballot to the precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot to the voter.

Wilson also stated voters must take their voter identification cards to the polls. “Your voter identification card can help Precinct Officials find your name in the Precinct Registry, and it may also help them resolve the problem if you are not listed in the Precinct Registry.”

Voters whose names are not found in the Precinct Registry, or a voter who disagrees with the information shown in the Registry, may need to cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is sealed in a special envelope and counted after election day if the voter’s information can be verified by the County Election Board.

Wilson said voters who want to get through the line quickly should vote at mid-morning or mid-afternoon, because those usually are the two slowest periods for voting during the day.

“Anyone who is eligible and in line at the polling place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday will be entitled to vote,” she added.

Following is a list of the precinct polling places open in the City of Altus Special Municipal Election: Precinct 1 Altus Best Western; Precinct 2 Altus Community Center; Precinct 3 Southern Prairie Library; Precinct 6 Masonic Lodge; Precinct 7 Southside Baptist Church; Precinct 10 St. John’s Baptist Church; Precinct 14 Prince of Peace Catholic Church; and Precinct 23 Martha Town Hall.


Registered voters in Jackson County who become physically incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, won’t have to miss the Sept. 10, City of Altus Special Municipal Election, County Election Board Secretary Jennifer Wilson said today.

Wilson said state law permits registered voters who will be unable to go to the polls because they became incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 to vote on an emergency basis. “Physical incapacitation” includes a variety of conditions—-injury, illness, childbirth—-that prevent a person from voting in person at the polls on Election Day.

“If you think that you or someone you know fits into this category, contact the County Election Board office at 580-482-2370 as soon as possible for more information,” Wilson said.