A basic guide to the new Buncombe County district election system

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:

District 1
Holly Jones
Bill Stanley

District 2
Carol Peterson
K. Ray Bailey

District 3
Both seats open

David Gantt, board chair

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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5 thoughts on “A basic guide to the new Buncombe County district election system

  1. J

    I believe Bailey and Peterson live in 115 (running against Mike Fryar). Stanley lives in 114, but knows the progressives won’t tolerate him, and is being replaced by Brownie “Sunshine” Newman who will run with Holly in 114.

    David King (R) lives in 116, and is the only announced candidate from 116.

  2. glolady

    Last I heard Bill Stanley and K. Ray Bailey were not running for Commissioner. One could only hope they do step down and allow someone who truly wants to represent the people and not just for the “perks” the job brings.

    Attending the Buncombe County Commissioners meetings was a real eye opener just how important public participation in local Government truly is. The actions of those serving for the people disgusted me. The behind door deals and against the majority pleas of the people decisions.

    The ONLY incumbent that I would even consider is Holly Jones.

  3. Gantt Says District Election for Commissioners Unnecessary

    In next year’s elections, there’s a chance Buncombe County voters will be voting for commissioners to represent their districts.
    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    County board chairman David Gantt is very much opposed to the bill in Raleigh making its way through the General Assembly that would have two commissioners elected by each state House district plus a chairman elected by the entire county. He says it’s nothing more than politics. The bill is sponsored by the county’s lone Republican representative Tim Moffitt. Democrat Gantt says all the districts are already represented on the board and this is a way to try to get GOP representation on the board. Gantt says race can’t be the issue either, because Buncombe’s black population isn’t large enough to ensure itself a seat. Gantt adds that this issue was addressed 14 years ago, and the county decided to stick with what he says is working just fine. As of January 2010, only 13 counties in the state have district elections for county commissioners.

    Printed from: http://www.ashevilleradio.com

    Keith Young announces bid to be 1st African American commissioner in Buncombe history

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