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CHARTER WINS 4 TO 1

DATE OF EVENT: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1925

DATE PUBLISHED: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1925, in The Kansas City Times

Editor’s note: When Kansas City voters approved a new charter in 1925, they wanted a more efficient and streamlined form of government, with a smaller, one-house council that could hire a city manager to control the city. However, the newly organized council was also much easier to control, giving “Boss” Thomas J. Pendergast and his political machine more rein over the funds and operations of city government. The headline referred to Goats and Rabbits, the two major Democratic factions. The Goats were Pendergast supporters, while the opposition Rabbits were those allied with the Shannon family faction.



The present 2-house council system of government was scrapped by the voters, and a more modern council-manager form adopted in one of the most lopsided elections of recent years.

The new code swept all of the sixteen wards in the city, except the ninth, with an irresistible force. In 398 of the 413 precincts of the city it was given majorities, many of them as big as 10 to 1. In the eighth precinct of the eighth ward the vote was a tie, 20 to 20.

The total vote cast, more than 46,000, was better than many had expected in a special election. While the vote was comparatively light until the middle of the afternoon, the late balloting gave the charter the overwhelming lead it received. …

Charter advocates estimated about one-third of the votes were cast by women.

A bright sun drew hundreds to the polls before the after-work rush last night.

The returns showed party lines had been eliminated to a great extent. The big residence wards and the smaller North-Side wards, with their customary huge majorities, went along together yesterday.

In the big South Side residence wards, where the Republican organization dominates, the charter got big majorities. In some precincts the leads given the new code rivaled those of the big North Side Democratic organization precincts.

The rumored opposition of the Republican organization did not materialize, indicating Mayor Beach’s fight for the charter had carried the G.O.P. organization with him. In some spots individual ward leaders slashed the code, but generally Republicans supported it.

The big G.O.P. wards ... gave the charter a majority of 15,556. In these wards the vote was 19,771 for and 4,215 against.

In the wards … where the Pendergast Democratic organization dominates, the new charter received smashing majorities. In these wards, the vote was 10,633 for the charter and 1,905 against, a majority of 8,728 …

The special election yesterday probably was the last city election to be conducted by party officials. The new charter provides for nonpartisan elections.

The result of the election wipes out the present ward map of the city. Ward lines are to be erased. In the future the city will be divided in four districts. A complete new political map of the city must be made by the board of election commissioners, who will designate the precinct lines in the new district.

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