Council Wards

Please title this page. (Page 10)

Charter Review Committee

Council Wards

Date: Revised January, 2005

Sub Committee Members: Hal Cloer, Michael Riedeman, Keith Massie

Issue Statement:

Should City Councilors be elected by wards? Should Councilors be elected at-large, or by specific position?

Pros and Cons:

PROS

1. Can lead to more representative government

2. Ward elections can ensure more minority representation

3. Ward elections can ensure neighborhood concerns are heard

4. Permits more effective canvassing by political candidates

CONS

1. Not as relevant an issue for smaller cities

2. Difficulty in determining the boundaries of wards

3. Ashland's councilors generally come from different neighborhoods now

4. At times, it could be more difficult to find viable candidates from each ward

Budget Implications: None, unless special elections are held.

Background:

A ward is a division of a city or town, especially an electoral district, for administrative and representative purposes.

Summary:

1. Cities with under 20,000 population may not need wards. Also, there's no evidence that ward issues are generally important or that wards improve political participation, as far as ousting incumbents or having competitive races.

Ward Electoral Systems in Oregon Cities

By John Rehfuss (John Rehfuss is a retired College Professor of Public Management.)

September 2003

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