Bayside Town Hall Meeting about Election Changes

The first Town Hall Meeting took place at the Bayside Rec Center on Saturday, March 25. The City Council seeks input from voters about what election system they want to see in Virginia Beach. The city charter must be updated even if the 10 district system used in the 2022 election is continued. At the meeting on Saturday, the meeting began with a short video presentation about the background of changes in how elections have been handled in VB. The majority of the meeting time was for people to give input about their views on the election system. District 9 Councilman Joash Schulman was in attendance to listen to these views. The speakers overwhelmingly favored the 10/1 system. One speaker expressed support for having some at-large seats saying that he wanted to be able to vote for more than one member of council. The rest of the speakers spoke in support of having 10 districts (10/1 system) many voicing similar reasons: accountability, feeling more represented. Many also cited the advantage of the reduced role of money when a candidate does not have to raise money to campaign in the entire city allowing more candidate diversity. Two candidates from the last election spoke to that as their experience. A former councilman, who worked on the voting referendums in the 90’s, made the point that voters do not vote on all members of the House of Delegates or State Senate, they elect their representative. He also mentioned that the court decision in Alabama due in April or May will have an effect. Another concern mentioned often was redrawing district lines. The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is organizing the meetings on behalf of the City Council and they will compile the input and present it to the City Council.

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