Letter: Need Ward System for Council

Letter: Need Ward System for Council

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

A frequent question that I get is about the City of Alexandria's convoluted voting process, which is the only jurisdiction in Virginia that has its City Council members elected "at large" rather than by wards. Therefore, one can vote for all six of positions from the slate of 11 candidates seeking office on Nov. 3. This year, the slate will include six Democrats (five are incumbents), four Republicans, and one Independent.

The race for mayor has a unique twist this time around, with the incumbent Mayor Bill Euille declaring to run as a write-in candidate, so voters so inclined must physically write in (and spell out) Euille’s name. The only candidate for mayor listed on the ballot will be Allison Silberberg, who won the Democratic primary in June over several other candidates.

Conversely, the Alexandria School Board does not have an "at large" process. The city is divided into three voting districts, and three board members are elected from each district, so voters can only vote for their three respective district's candidates. If "wards" are good enough for the School Board, then why are they not good enough for the council as well? If there is some actual merit to representational government, then it should apply to both the City Council and the School Board alike. The preponderance of evidence is there — the ward system can be found in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which has a storied role in the development of the democratic process of our country.

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet