Press release from Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson):
“Earlier this year, after numerous constituents asked for my help, I sponsored a law requiring the Asheville City Council to create council districts and give all Asheville citizens a chance to have their voices heard by their city government.
“Unfortunately, the city council doesn’t seem to understand what most ordinary citizens do – that following the law isn’t optional. For months, they have blatantly ignored the law, then organized and helped defeat a referendum in an attempt to preserve the status quo system from which they personally benefit. They have ignored that their very own poll shows the clear majority of respondents agree single-member districts are a good way to ensure differing political views in Asheville have equal representation on city council. And despite the fact that they’ve wasted taxpayers’ time and money on a sham of an election that they knew would attract such a low turnout, it still does not change the law.
“Asheville is a city that prides itself on standing apart, but today its leaders are standing out for all the wrong reasons. I call on the Asheville City Council to stop using taxpayer-funded resources to break the law and instead fulfill their duty to ensure all Asheville residents have fair representation.”
Senate Bill 285 was intended to allow for different perspectives to be represented on the Asheville City Council. The current system of city-wide elections has resulted in many Asheville residents being left without representation.
The law directed the city to amend its charter to create electoral districts for city council by November 1 and to create a district map by November 15. To date, the council has refused to
The overwhelming majority of North Carolina’s larger cities already hold their elections using a districted process. Of the state’s 15 largest cities, Asheville is one of only two that have not changed their election charter to one that includes districted representation.