Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Efforts are underway to acquire some 11,000 signatures needed to add a referendum to the Nov. 5 ballot.
The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is taking the lead in organizing a petition drive to have a vote that would change Columbia's form of government from its current Manager-Council form to a Mayor-Council form.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ike McLeese was quick to admit that while he is hopeful to have the measure added to the November ballot, it will be a "miracle" if that actually happens.
"I just don't think that's possible," McLeese said. "We're not deluding ourselves into believing we can get 12,000, 13,000 signatures in that period of time."
The measure failed a vote by Columbia City Council earlier this month, which would have allowed it to be added to the Nov. 5 ballot immediately.
McLeese said that was unfortunate because taxpayers would be footing the bill for a second election.
McLeese said he is also working with former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges and former South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster. He said they are both co-chairs of the Columbia Citizens for Better Government, a group formed specifically to advocate for the 'strong-mayor.'
McLeese also said he is working with a Georgia firm to organize the the petition drive.