published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Chattanooga city recall rules change


by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Renee Comaeux marks her ballot Tuesday in Highland Park.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
    enlarge photo

Chattanooga voters overwhelmingly approved a city charter amendment Tuesday that would mirror state laws when it comes to recalls of elected officials.

Voters approved the ballot referendum 39,272 to 13,991, with 100 percent of the votes counted, according to unofficial results.

The City Council approved putting the measure on the ballot in July. The referendum came after two years of legal battles concerning whether and how Mayor Ron Littlefield should be recalled from office.

The new City Charter will now follow state law, which requires signatures from 15 percent of the city's registered voters on dated petitions to get a mayoral or city council recall on the ballot.

The former charter only asked for signatures from 50 percent of those who voted in the last mayoral election. In the Littlefield recall, the city required about 9,000 figures; state law would have required about 15,000 signatures.

Opponents feared such a high number would make recalls all but impossible, but supporters said ousting an elected official shouldn't be too easy.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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