YELLOW SPRINGS — Yellow Springs voters narrowly turned down charter amendments Nov. 5, keeping the voting age and length of mayoral term as is.
According to unofficial final results, Issue 13 failed with 699 “no” votes and 635 “yes” votes — or 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent.
If passed, Issue 13 — which includes two proposed charter amendments — would have meant 16-year-olds could vote on local races and issues, and also would have doubled the mayor’s term.
Villagers were asked to look at an amended Section 6 of the charter, as stated on the ballot: “All residents of the Village of Yellow Springs who are 16 years of age and older shall be electors and are eligible to vote for Yellow Springs local issues and elected officials pursuant to the home rule power and granted by this Charter. The general election laws of the State of Ohio shall control in all elections except as otherwise provided by this Charter.”
This compares to Ohio’s general election laws, which specifies that a voter must be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old, and a resident of the state for at least 30 days before the election in which he or she is voting. The voter must also be a resident of the county and precinct in which he or she is voting.
The “home rule power” under the Ohio Constitution allows municipalities to amend a charter for its government.
Passage of the amendment would have allowed 16- and 17-year-old voters to participate in elections in the village, including council and mayor and local issues, but not in races beyond the village.
A separate amendment, this time to Section 29, would have given the Yellow Springs mayor a four-year term instead of a two-year term, beginning in the November 2021 general election.
Pam Conine, the village’s current mayor, ran uncontested for a second term this election. She was elected in 2017 following Dave Foubert, who served as village mayor for more than 20 years.
The two amendments were bundled together under one issue, giving voters the responsibility to accept or reject both changes at once.