By Rich Heiland
Free Press Publications, LLC
For Walker County News Today
IF YOU LIVE inside the Huntsville City limits, you might want to consider taking advantage of early voting when it begins Oct. 22 at the Walker County Annex between Sam Houston Avenue and University Drive.
In addition to the state and federal ballot, regular at-large City Council positions, school board positions, county races and the Walker County Hospital District ballot, voters will face a massive 32-measure City Charter amendment package.
That could pose some problems on election day, both in terms of how conscientious the balloting is and long lines.
One concern is how many people will just skip over the long list. Or, simply vote all of them up or down without reading them. If everyone takes time to study all 32 propositions, things could jam up at city polling sites.
With that in mind Walker County News Today is offering a multi-part “cheat sheet” look at the amendments. What we are going to do is sort them out by considering:
- Pure housekeeping. Every city has outdated parts of its charter. Updating them really does not have much impact on how the city functions or costs.
- Some, though, can impact how the City Council functions and those deserve a close look. We will not suggest how you should vote, but we will suggest how you should vote IF you have certain beliefs about how government should function.
- Some impact how the city manages finances. Some of these could fall under housekeeping, but some could have some impact on operations.
- We just don’t know where to put them.
It’s our suggestion that you copy and paste, or just print out each of these articles; look them over before you vote then take them with you into the voting booth. That will help you with early voting but it certainly will mean that if vote on election day, Nov. 6, you won’t be the voter holding up the line, seeing them for the first time and wondering what the heck they are.
That said, the review committee that worked for weeks on cleaning up the Charter does deserve a pat on the back. Members were current Council Member Keith Olson, who chaired the committee; Council Members Clyde Loll and Tyler McCaffety; former Mayor Jane Monday; and, former member Dalene Zender.
The first installment of the series will be posted Monday Oct. 15, closer to the opening of early voting.
Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 936-293-0293.