Fairhope rejects changing government

Fairhope residents rejected a referendum calling for the inclusion of a city manager to handle the city's day-to-day operations. 

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) - In lines that took some Fairhope voters more than an hour, residents struck down a referendum to change the city's form of government Tuesday. 

With all seven precincts reporting, there were 3,887 "NO" votes and 2,762 "YES" votes. 

The question on the ballot: whether voters believe Fairhope should change from its current council-mayor form of government to a council-city manager form of government. It was clear when the votes were tallied at the two largest precincts, the referendum would not pass.

The Fairhope Civic Center, which was one of the first and largest precincts to report, had the "NO" votes leading by almost 500 votes. The second largest precinct and last to report, Fairhope Avenue Baptist Church, reported the "NO" votes leading by almost 600 votes.  

At the Fairhope Civic Center, nearly 100 people who were in line still hadn't cast their ballot in the special election when polls closed at 7 p.m. They were allowed into the lobby of the building to continue waiting until they could vote. Several people who approached the doors to vote after 7 p.m. were turned away by an officer. 

Mayor Karin Wilson, who was outspokenly in favor of the change in government, told FOX10 she was disappointed in the result. 

If the referendum passed, the change would've taken effect in 2020.

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