The county commission of any county having a population of less than twenty-five thousand may by order entered of record provide that the provisions of this article providing civil service for correctional officers shall apply to such county on and after the effective date of this article. A copy of such order, together with a notice advising the qualified voters of such county of their right to protest the placing of correctional officers of such county under civil service, shall be published as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty- nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county.
In the event fifteen percent of the qualified voters of such county protest such order, by petition duly signed by them in their own handwriting (which petition may be signed in any number of counterparts) and filed with the county clerk of such county within sixty days after publication of such copy and notice, such order shall not become effective unless and until it is ratified by a majority of the legal votes cast with respect to the question of civil service coverage for the correctional officers of such county by the qualified voters of such county at a regular or special election. Any such election shall be conducted and superintended and the results thereof ascertained as provided by law for regular or special elections, as the case may be.
Whenever the correctional officers of any county are placed under civil service pursuant to the provisions of this section, such civil service system for the correctional officers of such county shall thereupon become mandatory and all of the provisions of this article shall apply to the correctional officers of such county with like effect as if said county had a population of twenty-five thousand or more.