EL PASO, Texas -- City council agreed to postpone a charter election in November that would have allowed El Paso voters to decide whether or not to change the city charter to focus on addressing the effects of climate change.
The ballot initiative was postponed because there was not enough time to verify the signatures that were on the petition.
Sunrise El Paso and Ground Game Texas, the two organizations who started the ballot initiative, say they got more than 39,000 signatures. The petition calls for changing the city's charter and adding a climate charter that would address the effects of climate change.
Some highlights of the petition include calling for the city to establish a Climate department; requiring the city to have 80 percent of energy used be renewable energy by 2030, and 100 percent by 2045; and calling for the city to employ all efforts to convert El Paso Electric to municipal ownership.
“We need to make a big change," Miguel Escoto, an organizer with Sunrise El Paso, said.
The city clerk would have to verify more than 9,700 signatures on the petition in order to certify it and allow city council to call for an election in November. The clerk, Laura Prine, said she only has about three to four people devoted to verifying these signatures. Prine estimates it will take around 100 working days to verify the needed signatures.
The petition and signatures were submitted on July 25, and the latest city council can call for an election is Aug. 16. There is not enough time to verify the signatures in order to place the charter on the ballot for November.
City council all agreed to postpone the charter election until May 2023, in order to give more time for staff to verify signatures.