Earlier this year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law changing the system used to elect members of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. And with candidates starting to declare their candidacies for next year’s election, we thought a brief overview of the new system might be in order.
Previously, voters throughout the entire county elected four members and a chair to four-year terms on the board. The top-five vote-getters won.
But for next year, voters have been divided in to three districts, which correspond to the county’s three Statehouse districts. The 1st District (corresponding to House District 114) roughly follows the borders of Asheville. The 2nd District (corresponding to House District 115) includes much of the eastern part of the county, from Fairview to Barnardsville. And the 3rd District (corresponding to House District 116) lies mostly to the west of town, stretching from Arden in the south to Sandymush in the northwest.
Each voter will be asked to choose two commissioners (who must live within that district), plus the board chair, who’ll still be elected countywide. This will expand the board to include six members and a chair.
In each district, the candidate receiving the most votes in 2012 will serve a four-year term; the other winner will be up for re-election in 2014. After that, all commissioners will serve four-year terms, and each district will elect one commissioner every two years.
For more information about your voter registration, polling place and which district you live in, contact the Buncombe County Board of Elections at 828-250-4200 or visit the office in person at 35 Woodfin Street in downtown Asheville.
The current incumbents and the districts they represent:
K. Ray Bailey
Both seats open
David Gantt, board chair