NIXA, Mo. – Next week, Nixa voters will be deciding whether to remove the city’s current mayor from office.
It’s one of just three issues on Christian County Ballots this November.
Back in late June, a group of voters gathered enough petitions to put the recall on the next ballot.
The group says its reason for the recall stems from Mayor Steele’s decision to use pandemic-related emergency powers to enact a city-wide masking mandate without first asking City Council members to vote on it.
The mask mandate that sparked the petition expired six months ago, but some residents are still pushing for Steele to be replaced, arguing the move was an overreach and pandemic safety measures were hurting the city’s economy.
On November 2nd, Nixa voters will be asked to either vote “Yes” to remove Mayor Steele from office or vote “No” to keep him in his current position.
Christian County Clerk Kay Brown says because Nixa is a charter city, it is the only city in the county that has the power to petition a recall.
She says mayoral elections typically happen in April, so it is difficult to gauge Tuesday’s turnout.
“To be honest, I’ve never had a recall election. I would say if we had 10% next Tuesday, I think that would be remarkable…only because of the number of absentees that are coming in. It’s just, people really aren’t involved in this election.”
More than 15,000 active voters currently live within the city limits of Nixa, but Brown says so far, only 39 have filled out an absentee ballot.
She says no matter how many people show up to the polls on Tuesday, the special election will still cost taxpayers money.
“Well, I estimated $15,000 for this election. You know, ballots and cost of the workers that work the election, ballots, and postage, all those things cost quite a bit.”
The City of Nixa says the decision will take a simple majority vote.
If the recall passes, the current Mayor Pro-Tem would take Steele’s place after a vote from City Council members.
However, campaigns for the next mayoral election will begin soon after. Brown says Mayor Steele’s official replacement will be voted on during the April 2022 election.
Mayor Steele’s current term is set to expire in April 2023.
The other two issues on Christian County ballots is a use tax to be decided on by both Highlandville and Saddlebrook voters.
Brown says there no elections are being held in any municipalities located east of Nixa.