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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Charter Amendment 1

October-November 2005

Charter Amendment 1

Shall Section 2.13 of the Whatcom County Charter be amended to provide that each member of the County Council, except for Council-at-large, be elected by majority vote by voters in his/her own Council District?

Statement for:

Since the Home Rule Charter was adopted in the mid-70s, our county has continued to diversify and develop into unique neighborhoods and communities. ‘Vote by District’ will insure that all voices in our community are represented on the County Council.

Vote by District will:

•Provide representation for issues and concerns unique to individual districts.

•Insure no voter is disenfranchised due to geographical constraints.

•Enhance the voters’ access to their elected representatives.

•Make it less onerous to campaign for local elected office.

•Insure all viewpoints are addressed and considered.

If ‘Vote by District’ is approved, every voter will always participate in the election of their council representatives.

‘Vote by District’ voting in Whatcom County will result in elected officials being closer to the people they are elected to represent—and this is a fundamental element of democracy.

Statement prepared by:

Charlie Crabtree, Charter Review Commissioner, District 3

Statement Against:

District-Only voting has the potential for taking away our right to democratically elect our representatives. It limits one’s right of representation. For example, voters elect Whatcom County Council members every two years. There is one person from each district, plus the at-large candidate. Therefore, every two years, we have the opportunity to vote for at least three persons, or four, when the at-large position is up for election. We get to vote for each of those who will best represent Whatcom County.

Under District-Only voting, I would be limited to voting for only one of those candidates, the one in my district plus the one who is running at-large. Therefore, in each election I would have no say at all in two of the candidates who will be elected to the council, yet, the actions of the entire council affect me and the entire County. Therefore, no matter where you live in Whatcom County you would have no vote at all for four (majority) members of the council.

Also, if a councilperson is elected from his/her district only, then his/her primary interest will be with that district. That is why we changed from the three commissioner form of government.

Statement prepared by:

Mick Moynihan, Charter Review Commissioner, District 1

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