What Are District Elections?

Municipal district elections are about community representation, increased democracy, and decentralization in city politics.

The district elections method separates the city into five geographical areas for electing five city council members; with one council member and the mayor elected at-large by all of the city. Candidates must reside in their separate districts and be elected by voters from that district.

Under a district elections system:

  • Elections are more democratic and council membership more representative of the actual makeup of the city.
  • Each vote carries more weight. Under the at-large election method, each vote cast goes towards a set of candidates running citywide. That vote competes with every other vote in the city. Under the district elections method, each vote within a district only competes with other votes in a closely delineated community of neighbors.
  • Higher voter turnout is encouraged. With more focused community representation, and each vote carrying greater weight, more stakeholders are motivated to come to the polls.
  • Campaigning is less expensive for candidates who would only have to campaign in limited areas rather than throughout the entire city. They can better focus on the constituents in their communities and their needs.
  • Each district has a single point of contact for citizen input into local government, and an “ambassador” for their community, making members accountable to a discrete electorate.
  • Campaigns can be more issue-focused and address real neighborhood concerns rather than being a city-wide popularity contest.
  • Community-focused district elections encourage greater participation in the political process, by both potential candidates and voters.
  • City council members elected by districts will have to work together to achieve consensus rather than impose their special interest pet issues on the whole city.
  • The whole of city council represents city residents. One member will be elected from your community.

Senate Bill 285 is law. The non-binding referendum on a charter amendment on district elections has no force and is a ruse to collect evidence for a taxpayer-funded lawsuit that city leaders hope will delay the inevitable. http://bit.ly/2uziBYt


NC House debate of S.B.813 Asheville District Maps 06/27/201 (filed by Senator Edwards in the absence of maps from city council): https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2017/S813/True

S.B. 813 passed its final reading in the Senate and is now law. It was Ordered Enrolled on 6/28/2018.