Public Pressure In Asheville Squashes State-Imposed Local Election Changes

Nov 19, 2019

The people of Asheville successfully fought against an effort from the North Carolina state legislature to change how the city’s local elections were run.

The General Assembly passed a bill last year that eliminated primaries, mandated the use of voting districts and pushed back municipal elections. Previously Asheville local elections were “at-large,” meaning citizens were able to vote for all open Council seats and for the mayor. The at-large system yielded the most African American representation on the Asheville City Council in decades. Despite public protests against these changes, local elected officials did nothing for months. This fall, after mounting public pressure, the City Council held a vote and restored elections to previous parameters — except for municipal elections, which are delayed and will now be held on even years.

Host Frank Stasio talks to David Forbes about this story and how the changes impact Asheville politics. Forbes is the editor of the Asheville Blade, a progressive online news organization.