The Legislative authority (which includes the Board of County Commissioners) of any county may by a two-thirds vote of its members, or upon petition of eight per cent of the electors of the county as certified by the election authorities of the county shall forthwith, by resolution submit to the electors of the county the question, "Shall a county charter commission be chosen?" The question shall be voted upon at the next general election, occurring not sooner than ninety-five days after certification of the resolution to the election authorities. The ballot containing the question shall bear no party designation. Provision shall be made thereon for the election to such commission from the county at large of fifteen electors if a majority of the electors voting on the question have voted in the affirmative.
Candidates for such commission shall be nominated by petition of one per cent of the electors of the county. The petition shall be filed with the election authorities no less than seventy-five days prior to such election. Candidates shall be declared elected in the order of the number of votes received, beginning with the candidate receiving the largest number; but not more than seven candidates residing in the same city or village may be elected. The holding of a public office does not preclude any person from seeking or holding membership on a county charter commission nor does membership on a county charter commission preclude any such member from seeking or holding other public office, but not more than four officeholders may be elected to a county charter commission at the same time. The legislative authority shall appropriate sufficient sums to enable the charter commission to perform its duties and to pay all reasonable expenses thereof.
The commission shall frame a charter for the county or amendments to the existing charter, and shall, by vote of a majority of the authorized number of members of the commission, submit the same to the electors of the county, to be voted upon at the next general election next following the election of the commission. The commission shall certify the proposed charter or amendments to the election authorities not later than seventy-five days prior to such election. Amendments to a county charter or the question of the repeal thereof may also be submitted to the electors of the county in the manner provided in this section for the submission of the question whether a charter commission shall be chosen, to be voted upon at the first general election occurring not sooner than sixty days after their submission. The legislative authority or charter commission submitting any charter or amendment shall, not later than thirty days prior to the election on such charter or amendment, mail or otherwise distribute a copy thereof to each of the electors of the county as far as may be reasonably possible, except that, as provided by law, notice of proposed amendments may be given by newspaper advertising. Except as provided in Section 3 of this Article, every charter or amendment shall become effective if it has been approved by the majority of the electors voting thereon. It shall take effect on the thirtieth day after such approval unless another date be fixed therein. When more than one amendment, which shall relate to only one subject but may affect or include more than one section or part of a charter, is submitted at the same time, they shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each separately. In case more than one charter is submitted at the same time or in case of conflict between the provisions of two or more amendments submitted at the same time, that charter or provision shall prevail which received the highest affirmative vote, not less than a majority. If a charter or amendment submitted by a charter commission is not approved by the electors of the county, the charter commission may resubmit the same one time, in its original form or as revised by the charter commission, to the electors of the county at the next succeeding general election or at any other election held throughout the county prior thereto, in the manner provided for the original submission thereof.
The legislative authority of any county, upon petition of ten per cent of the electors of the county, shall forthwith, by resolution, submit to the electors of the county, in the manner provided in this section for the submission of the question whether a charter commission shall be chosen, the question of the adoption of a charter in the form attached to such petition.
Laws may be passed to provide for the organization and procedures of county charter commissions, including the filling of any vacancy which may occur, and otherwise to facilitate the operation of this section. The basis upon which the required number of petitioners in any case provided for in this section shall be determined, shall be the total number of votes cast in the county for the office of Governor at the last preceding general election therefor.
The foregoing provisions of this section shall be self-executing except as herein otherwise provided.
(Amended, effective Nov. 7, 1978; SJR No.11.)