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Public Input Sought on Criteria for Drawing of Asheville City Council Districts

Raleigh, NC- Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) is asking for Asheville citizens’ input on criteria for new City Council district maps that will be drawn during the

legislative session that begins May 16, 2018.

Last year the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation that required the City of Asheville to amend its charter to select future city council members by district. The City of Asheville was granted the authority to draw those new districts by whatever means its leaders felt worked best for the city.

But the City of Asheville continues to refuse its citizen a fair and equitable city council election process. In spite of its leaders’ repeated requests of the General Assembly to be allowed to change on its own – they have not acted. Asheville did not respond in accordance with state law, instead refusing to exercise the option to design its own districts. Due to its failure to act, the General Assembly is now charged with drawing the districts during the 2018 session in accordance with S.L. 2017-83.

“Every citizen is entitled to a government that can function within its smallest possible footprint. Districted representation enables elected officials to be more responsive and more accountable to its population,” said Edwards. “It was my sincere hope that the leaders of Asheville would take the time they were granted to draw the districts without the need for intervention by the General Assembly. I regret that they have not responded, nor have they offered other solutions.”

The N.C. General Assembly is now seeking input from the public on the criteria that might be considered in order to draw these city council districts. Please submit suggested criteria, ideas, or plans by going to the General Assembly website. The General Assembly will be collecting this input until May 16, 2018.

S.L. 2017-83: Equal Representation for Asheville was passed by the legislature in June of 2017. The law calls for the drawing of six City Council districts to be used during the 2019 municipal elections. S.L. 2017-83 gave the city of Asheville and its government the flexibility to draw its own districts and present a copy of the districts by November 15, 2017. Asheville failed to provide these districts to the General Assembly therefore implementing Section 4 of the law.