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"No" On Issue One Wins Big, Columbus City Council Remains As Is

Ether Honig
Supporters of Issue One address reporters

Columbus City Council will remain as it has for 10  years. Current members of city council, the mayor and business leaders easily turned back an attempt to expand the council and convert it to a hybrid of 10 district representatives and three at-large members. 

Arguing the city’s current governance has been a model of success, opponents of Issue One claimed victory.

With more than half of the city's precincts reporting, "NO" votes outnumbered "YES" votes by more than a two-to-one margin.

Columbus has been represented by a seven member at-large city council since 1917.

Two previous attempts to change the city charter to include district representation failed – one in 1968 and one in 1975.

Supporters of Issue One gathered some 39,000 signatures to force the issue on the ballot.

They argued ward representation would provide ignored neighborhoods with better representation.  They also argued it would prompt additional candidates to run for office because they would not need to raise as much money in a district election as they have to in city-wide council elections.

Opponents argued dividing the city into districts would lead to infighting on City Council and damage the progress Columbus has made in recent decades.   They also pointed out City Council could expand to 25 members if the city’s population doubled, and they argued other city services would have to be cut to pay for new city council members and their staffs. 

But district representation on city council may not be dead.  Mayor Andrew Ginther and city council members have promised to appoint a seven-member commission to study possible changes to the city charter. 

Update 9:04pm

It's not looking good for those trying to change Columbus City Council for the first time in 100 years.   With 42% of precincts reporting "NO" votes lead "YES" by a nearly a three-to-one margin.

NO         16,688    73%

YES        6,309     27% 

Update 8:30pm 

Results are staring to come in, and opponents of Issue One maintain their lead.

12 of 502 precincts reporting 

NO       3,346       68%    

YES    1,579          32% 

Update 7:55pm

The polls  have closed in Columbus as voters have decided the fate of Issue One which would change Columbus City County from seven at-large members to 13 members, 10 of whom would be elected from districts. 

The early votes are counted and opponents to the charter change have the lead.

NO :      2,776    67% 

YES:     1,354    33% 

Votes from today have yet to be tallied.