PORTSMOUTH – The residents of Portsmouth are set to vote on two new amendments to the City Charter this election day.
The first would ‘amend as necessary, the language in all sections of the City Charter that refer to gender to provide that those references are gender neutral and in doing such shall exempt from the requirements of Section 11 of the Charter.’ In short, the amendment would change references to city officials in the Charter from ‘he’ and ‘him’ to ‘they’ and ‘them’ where applicable.
“(This) addresses the language in the charter to change the older ordinances referring to the City Manager and Mayor as ‘he’,” said 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon. “I feel we should encourage the other half of the population to these positions as well.”
“This makes the City Charter more in line with modern language and changes everything to appropriate pronouns so we don’t make people feel marginalized,” said 5th Ward Councilman Joey Sandlin.
The second proposed charter amendment would amend sections 143, 144, and 147a of the charter and repeal sections 145, 146, 147, 148, and 149 of the Charter in order to reform election protocols within the City. The amendment would require 50 qualified electors to sign candidate petitions in each ward, requires those electors sign in black ink (no longer allowing pencil), and takes out the stipulation that signatures be collected within 105 days of the primary election cycle.
“This amendment aligns our charter with state language as to the timing a candidate can go out and collect signatures to run for office,” explained Gordon. “It doesn’t favor any one person or party, but it allows for a longer time to collect signatures.”
“Portsmouth is run by a City Charter that was written in the 1950s or even earlier,” explained Councilman Sandlin in a social media post. “The City Charter, in many areas, is outdated and obstructive, preventing our city from growing and prospering. One such area is the Portsmouth election laws. By not following the Ohio Revised Code, the Portsmouth City Charter election laws are full of all kinds of restrictive codes that only prevents people from participating in local elections…This November, we have the opportunity to drop the City Charter’s antiquated election rules and come under the Ohio Revised Code.”
“If it’s good enough for the state, it’s good enough for Portsmouth,” said Sandlin. “Portsmouth doesn’t need special election codes.”
More information about the two Charter amendments is available at portsmouthohio.org.