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Asheville referendum result is a ‘sham,’ law remains unchanged, Edwards says says, as he rips Asheville
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 00:41

From Staff Reports 

State Senator Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, ridiculed Asheville’s Nov. 7 referendum vote, calling the result a “sham” the day after residents voted against electoral districts for City Council.

“Despite the fact that they’ve wasted taxpayers’ time and money on a sham of an election that they knew would attract such a low turnout, it still does not change the law,” Edwards said in a Nov. 8 press release.

North Carolina lawmakers passed a law introduced by Edwards in June 2017 requiring Asheville to draw city council districts maps by Nov. 15. Asheville’s council then decided to place a referendum on the ballot to see how residents felt about the districts.

The City of Asheville Charter Amendment regarding the six electoral districts for city council was voted down during the election, with 75.11 percent voting “no” and 24.89 percent voting “yes.”

“Unfortunately, the city council doesn’t seem to understand what most ordinary citizens do – that following the law isn’t optional,” Edwards said of the referendum. “For months, they have blatantly ignored the law, then organized and helped defeat a referendum in an attempt to preserve the status quo system from which they personally benefit.

“I call on the Asheville City Council to stop using taxpayer-funded resources to break the law and instead fulfill their duty to ensure all Asheville residents have fair representation,” Edwards added.

Edwards represents District 48, which covers Henderson, Transylvania and southern Buncombe County — including a relatively small slice of South Asheville.

“Senate Bill 285 was intended to allow for different perspectives to be represented on the Asheville City Council,” Edwards said in the press release. “The current system of city-wide elections has resulted in many Asheville residents being left without representation.

“The law directed the city to amend its charter to create electoral districts for city council by November 1 and to create a district map by November 15. To date, the council has refused to do so.

“The overwhelming majority of North Carolina’s larger cities already hold their elections using a districted process. Of the state’s 15 largest cities, Asheville is one of only two that have not changed their election charter to one that includes districted representation,” Edwards asserted.



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