Today the Raleigh City Attorney explained an important issue with holding the next municipal election in October. As required, every ten years when the census is conducted, the City redraws district boundaries to ensure that each district has as close as possible the same number of citizens. Normally the redrawing happens early in the year in time for the election. However, this year the census data won’t be released until late September making it impossible to redraw the district boundaries for an October election.
As a consequence, the City Attorney announced her intention to ask the legislature to delay the municipal election until November of 2022 – more than a year later.
After giving the options considerable thought, I decided that the best option should be to have the election coincide with the State primary which will most likely be held in March or possibly no later than May depending on when boundaries are redrawn for State and Federal elections. Here are my reasons:
I support asking the legislature to move the 2021 municipal election to coincide with the 2022 primary. When we were elected in 2019 the public assumed that they were electing us for a two year term. I think it is important to honor that contract as much as possible.
When election options were explained to us by the City Attorney, it seemed that the only options available to us were March or November of 2022. However, after reflecting on our options and considering our obligation to honor our two year terms, I am of the opinion that minimizing the delay in the 2021 election should be a priority. And it turns out, there is another option by asking the legislature to move the 2021 election to coincide with the 2022 primary. If the primary is moved because boundaries cannot be redrawn by March, then the city election would move as well.
In my view moving municipal elections to November of even years is also a goal worthy of further consideration possibly beginning with a 2024 election. However, to be clear, I do not, upon further reflection of our options, support moving the 2021 municipal election to November of 2022. Doing so would increase our terms by more than a year which is far beyond our social contract with the citizens of Raleigh.
Moreover, moving the election to November of 2022 fundamentally changes our elections from a runoff to a plurality – a change that I believe warrants further discussion.