The recent disclosure that state Rep. Tim Moffitt had drafted a bill to change Asheville City Council contests from an at-large system to predominantly district elections has triggered heated debate among both elected officials and the general public. Although Moffitt hasn’t yet filed the bill, which mirrors the state-mandated 2011 switch for the Buncombe County commissioners, he could follow through at any time, and the potential impacts are substantial.
In the following articles, Xpress takes a closer look at what such a move might mean for this city — and for this year’s scheduled elections.
Democracy by decree: Moffitt’s plan — an unusual move to change a local election system by state fiat — has attracted plenty of backlash from Asheville’s local officials. A look at the arguments, and if Asheville’s current election system is fair.
The district advantage: UNCA political science professor Bill Sabo sees definite advantages to district election systems in cities with populations over 100,000. But with Asheville well below that threshold, it’s less clear what making such a switch here might mean. This article also features information on how other cities across the state conduct elections.
Done deal: Lessons from the 2012 district elections: As Moffitt contemplates a move to switch Asheville to predominantly district elections, similar changes he pushed for the Buncombe County commissioners continue to have far-reaching effects.
A Google Map showing (roughly) the regions of the city and the addresses of Asheville City Council members going back to 1995.
View Asheville City Council members 1995-present in a larger map