Election officials still waiting on final results for Issue 4 - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Election officials still waiting on final results for Issue 4


Cincinnati voters came out in support of Issue 4 Tuesday 51 to 49 percent. Election officials are still waiting on a count of all provisional and absentee ballots to release final results. The charter amendment extends the City Council terms from two years to four.

"I know that there are provisional ballots but we've won and I think at the end of all the counting we will have still won," councilwoman Laure Quinlivan said.

At the same time, Quinlivan says she was expecting a more clear choice in favor of Issue 4.

"I'm a little surprised how close it was," Quinlivan told FOX19 Wednesday before helping to host a "Victory Press Conference" with fellow council members, former city leaders, and citizens.

"It certainly wasn't a mandate," Amy Murray argued. "It was almost 50-51. It was 51-49. It was very, very close."

Quinlivan was the force behind Issue 4. It was her proposal and idea that got the issue onto the ballot in August.

Election officials say rough numbers show 7,384 provisional ballots cast by Cincinnatians are still left to be reviewed. They say there are also still thousands of Hamilton County absentee ballots that have not been returned including oversees ballots.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has 10 days to receive the oversees and absentee ballots postmarked by Monday evening. They then have until November 27th to process the rest of the ballots.

Supporters like Quinlivan argued having only two-year terms meant that an election was always right around the corner and council members were always campaigning.

Last November, council went through a severe shake-up, adding four new members and a super majority of Democrats. Quinlivan says four-year terms give everyone the chance to invest in bigger ideas and issues.

Those against it say it means more power and less accountability. Former council members Amy Murray and Jeff Berding campaigned against extension of terms. They argue voters need a chance to re-cast their support every two years to hold council responsible.

"Every election means they can pocket $120,000 dollars more [in salary] from the tax payers and more job security," Berding told FOX19 Tuesday before the polls closed. "This may as well be the ‘Incumbent Protection Pay Raise Act' because no incumbents would every lose because they'd have four years to build up their war chest, four years to build up their name recognition."

"I think we definitely need to have a recall provision and then we need to look at how we elect council members," Amy Murray said Wednesday. "You know, should we have districts? Should we have staggered terms?"

Quinlivan feels the most critical change has been made with issue four, but she's not against more improvements.

"I'm open to further reform and if there are people out there who feel so strongly about districts or whatever, I encourage them to work on it, build support, and bring it forward," Quinlivan said.

Murray says the Citizens for Accountability in Government group, a non-partisan group opposing Issue 4, will likely meet in the coming weeks to brainstorm and investigate how best to move forward with their vision for Cincinnati government.

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