Early voting for the City of Ardmore’s special election to amend the city’s charter will begin today, and city officials are hoping citizens will accept the proposed changes.
City Manager J.D. Spohn said the significant changes to the charter are to stay in compliance with state law, but most of the changes are just cleaning up old, clunky language.
“We’re just asking for a cleanup effort,” Spohn said. “We have had to constantly try to manipulate things around to comply with the state laws and our charter. We’re just asking that the public vote yes so we can clean up this language and stay in compliance with the law.”
The biggest change to the charter city officials are imposing is doing away with primary elections for city commission members. Currently, the city holds two elections for those who are running for city commission. Not only does this primary election cost the city around $20,000 a year, it’s also an uncommon practice for cities.
Under the revised charter, the city would hold one election for the city commissioners, and the person who receives the highest number of votes from each district wins. Another issue with the current charter’s election rules are that a specific time frame for filing candidate information with the election board makes it extremely difficult to comply with state law.
“Election laws have constantly been changing since our charter was written,” Ardmore City Clerk and Finance Director Ken Campbell said. “If we went by our charter the election board barely has enough time to print the ballots. Without these changes we won’t be able to comply with both 100 percent.”
On July 14, the city commissioners unanimously approved the charter’s face lift at a special meeting. The charter has been tweaked over the years, but hasn’t had a major overhaul since the 1950’s — leaving some strange things in place (like saying the city regulates milk products when in fact they don’t).
Some of the language in the charter cleanup includes: clarifying that the commissioners receive healthcare benefits, deleting any reference to milk products, and deleting any references to the board of education because the city does not control the board of education.
For more than a year, city officials reviewed the charter to determine what changes were needed. On average, elections like this one cost the city $10,000 - $12,000 and for that reason city officials are urging citizens to vote on the charter changes. Citizens won’t be asked to vote on each change individually, but simply accept or deny the changes to the charter as a whole.
“Many of the revisions are proposed to add clarification to reflect modern and current businesses practices,” Ardmore City Attorney Jen O’Steen said.
Early voting begins today at 8 a.m. at the Carter County Election Board office, 106 Hinkle St. SW, for those who are registered to vote in Carter County, and ends at 6 p.m. Early voting will continue into Friday, with hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early voting must be done at the Election Board.
Election day is Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On election day voters must vote in their precincts.

Precinct voting locations

1 — Colvert Ministry Building, 501 West Main St., Ardmore
2 — Ardmore Assisted Living , 2215 4 NW, Ardmore
7 —HFV Wilson Community Center, 625 E Main, Ardmore
11— First Baptist Church, 315 1st SW, 225 1st SW, Ardmore
14— New Hope Church of God, 412 Lake Murray Dr., Ardmore
15— Southern Okla. Vo-Tech, 2610 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore
17— Ardmore Village, 2401 Village Lane, 1550 Knox Road, Ardmore
19— South West Baptist Church, 2120 Myall Road, Ardmore
20 — Ashbury Methodist Church, 516 Maxwell, Ardmore
24— Boy Scouts of America, 411 Highway 142, Ardmore
25— Masonic Lodge, 7380 N. Meridian road, Lone Grove
26— Senior Citizen Cener, 136 Tumbleweed Drive, Ardmore
33— Springer Community Center, 551 Main Street, Springer
63— Dickson City Hall, 35 Eastgate Loop, Dickson