Raleigh mayor, council members want elections delayed until 2022

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh city leaders during Tuesday’s work session discussed pushing back elections scheduled for October until November 2022.

The city council mainly discussed two options — following a statewide plan or a local bill that would move city elections to 2022 and keep them in even-numbered years. The latter would effectively extend the terms of council members by a year.

No vote was taken Tuesday, but City Attorney Robin Tatum did say it was her understanding that the majority of the council members supported a local-bill solution.

District elections are being impacted by delays in the data from the 2020 Census. Tatum said the information is generally available by the following April, which was about two months ago. She said, because of the pandemic, the city isn’t expecting to get the data until the end of September, although candidates need to file in July and elections are scheduled for October.

At the local level, the data are key to making sure each member of the city council represents roughly the same number of residents. Population growth in Raleigh requires redistricting.

“Based on the growth in Raleigh in the last 10 years, there’s no question that there’s going to have to be some changes in the lines,” Tatum said at Tuesday’s work session.

That process takes time.

“When there are district changes the maps are redrawn, the lines have to be overlaid with voter registration and so forth, it takes us about two months to complete that process,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

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