Clay County voters have rejected a change in their governance structure. It was the third failed attempt to take much of the politics out of county government.
The Clay County Election Commission reports a 16 percent voter turnout, with the measure being defeated by some 6,200 votes. There were 15,200 'no' votes from Clay County residents. Nine thousand voted 'yes.'
Voters earlier approved creating a panel of seven Republicans and seven Democrats to design a constitutional form of governing.
Constitution Commission Co-Chair Carol Suter said it's curious that the public is willing to vote to form a constitution commission, then votes down its recommendations.
"Each time that it's come to the vote, the opposition has come up with what I call 'the big lie,'" says Suter. "A new big lie each time and that has proved to be very effective in scaring the public into voting against it."
Supporters said they foresaw defeat when flyers began appearing at homes declaring passage would close schools and stop government functions.Opponents of the measure had repeatedly warned passage could throw government operations into chaos.