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Will someone sue over the term limits referendum?



Pre-election polling showed voters slightly favored the change, but not if they were told that it benefits sitting council members.

Rice University political scientist Bob Stein conducted the News 88.7/KHOU 11 News election poll.

“When we informed voters that the adoption of the two four-year (terms) would take place immediately in 2016 and advantage incumbent council members, support swung the other way and it was a deficit of 17 points against,” Stein said.

But that information was not in the ballot language.

In fact, it didn’t even mention that it would actually extend term limits.

Even Houston Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged that this week.

“I don’t know that they realized that they were giving council members more time in office,” she said.

Considering that a judge only a week ago ruled that Houston has to hold a new election on its drainage fund because of misleading ballot language, Stein said theoretically, the same could happen with this vote.

“I wouldn’t be shocked to see somebody complain about it and say, let’s go back and petition and have another referendum, which clearly explains what’s happening,” he said.

We’ve been over this a couple of times already. I honestly don’t remember the exact wording of the proposition, but I knew it meant two four year terms (even if I’d forgotten that it would be enacted immediately), and I knew I was voting against it. I think people likely didn’t fully understand what they were voting on, but that’s almost certainly because they had paid no attention to it. No one ran a campaign for it or against it, and Lord knows only a few of us read the news about what happens at City Hall. For better or worse, people need to do a little homework before they enter the polling place, and if they come out of there not knowing what they did, is that a litigation-worthy offense? If someone could convince the Supreme Court that the voters were too dumb to understand the Renew Houston referendum, who am I to say that they couldn’t do the same with this?

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  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    “If someone could convince the Supreme Court that the voters were too dumb to understand the Renew Houston referendum, who am I to say that they couldn’t do the same with this?”

    I knew what I was voting for with Renew Houston and I knew what I was voting for on the term limits.

  2. J says:

    It seems deliberately misleadingly worded to me. First it says “reduce” number of terms — so it sounds like the pols will be serving for fewer years — and then for the length of term it says “and limit the length…” It would be far more natural for 100% of writers to say “expand” or “extend”. But no, that would be too clear. It seems like the word “limit” was very intentionally chosen to mislead. Once again, shame on Annise Parker and the current City Council. How can anyone be such a blindly loyal partisan as to not see that this behavior is horrendous? Just as bad as whatever Republican chicanery you want to blast: reducing number of abortion clinics, decreasing Democrat access to voting.

    (Relating to Term Limits for City Elective Office.) Shall the City Charter of the City of Houston be amended to reduce the number of terms of elective offices to no more than two terms in the same office and limit the length for all terms of elective office to four years, beginning in January 2016; and provide for transition?

  3. Julain Deleon says:

    2 four year terms are right for the City of Houston!

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