Tuesday’s strong mayor vote: What you need to know

December 1, 2013 

Columbia voters will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on the strong mayor referendum.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

After years of debate – and months of heated debate – Columbia residents will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to change the way the city is governed.

Voters will either make municipal history or hold fast to the status quo.

Those pushing for change say Columbia needs an elected chief executive with the administrative muscle to make decisions quickly to, among other things, help the city to compete better for businesses and the jobs they would bring.

Others say the city has problems – especially with its police department – but argue residents don’t need to change the system of government the city has had since 1949 to fix those things.

So, will the city be managed by a strong mayor or continue to be led by a seven-member, elected city council that hires and fires a professional city manager?

We’ll see Tuesday.

WHAT: City of Columbia strong-mayor referendum

WHEN: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

WHERE: All the usual city polling places – the same ones that were open Nov. 5 – are open. Check your voter-registration card for your polling place.

WHO CAN VOTE: Anyone who lives in the city and was registered by Nov. 3. You must be a city resident to vote. And you must show an ID with a photo.

ABSENTEE: Columbia voters have until 5 p.m. Monday to go by the Richland County election office at 2020 Hampton St. to vote absentee in person. Questions? Call (803) 576-2240.

FOR ELECTION-NIGHT RESULTS, go online at thestate.com election night. We’ll have results as soon as the election office makes them available.

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