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City Council votes to revert to at-large election
Sunday, 03 November 2019 14:01

From Staff Reports

Asheville City Council — as widely expected — voted 6-1 on Oct. 22 to return to the long-standing system wherein all city voters choose all members of the body.

Casting the lone dissenting vote was Councilman Vijay Kapoor. The South Asheville resident opposed districts when he ran for council in 2017, but ultimately changed his mind in June, arguing “districts will help council members more effective represent Asheville residents.”

Council’s action approves an ordinance to amend Asheville’s charter, which reverses a state-imposed election system instituting new distrcits planned to take effect for the 2020 election.

In an Oct. 24 story on council’s vote, the Asheville Citizen Times noted that “the amendments defy changes made by the majority Republican General Assembly in passing Senate Bill 813 last year, which forced the council to adopt five new districts in next year’s election.”

At the same meeting, and following the vote to revert to at-large districts, council also voted unanimously approved a charter amendement that stipulates council elections will be conducted by a nonpartisan primary and election method.

Meanwhile, the ACT reported that “Kapoor acknowledged the General Assembly has the authority to override council and impose a new election system. He said, ‘I hope they don’t,’ citing the cost of litigation that he argues would be ‘a waste of taxpayer money and a serious distraction.’”

The ACT also noted, “None of the other members of council commented before the vote.”

However, Kapoor reiterated his previously voiced contention just before the vote that returning to an all at-large systems is “the worst route we could have taken,” the ACT quoted him as saying.

“While it might be better for certain council members individually, I think for the city as a whole, for the average resident, for minority communities seeking better access to their representatives, it’s the worst system out there.”


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