Post Number: 7
|Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 7:12 pm: || |
In another thread (about the DPD), the question of Detroit's use of at-large elections to choose its City Council has been raised.
Among other drawbacks (such as lack of accountability to neighborhoods) one consequence of at-large elections--rather than election of council members from districts--is that minority voting power within a city is minimized, regardless of who that minority may be.
That's why Southern cities whose elections are covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are required by the Department of Justice to elect their city councils from single member districts rather than at large.
So...for how long has Detroit used at-large elections of city council members, and does anyone know if this method has been challenged and why it is still used?
Post Number: 3153
|Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 7:24 pm: || |
Since 1918. It has been challenged and keeps getting voted down.
Post Number: 8
|Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 8:04 pm: || |
Mikem--voted down by whom? Do you mean in a referendum, or by the Council itself?
Post Number: 3154
|Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 8:42 pm: || |
I think the citizens voted it down sometime in the 1970s, and attempts to get it on the ballot recently have fallen short. Can't remember if it made it to another vote since then.
The topic comes up every year - try doing a search of "ward" with the forum search function - you might find better information from previous members who knew more about the system but no longer post here.
Post Number: 152
|Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 - 8:49 pm: || |
I would think it would make the city more manageable to have council elected from districts.
Post Number: 1598
|Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 12:34 pm: || |
It hasn't made it up for a vote in a long time, probably since the 70's as Mikem says.
I do think that if a well-worded proposal for a district-based system (including a couple of at-large seats) made it on the ballot today, it would pass.
It is important to have at least 1 or 2 at-large councilmembers as a sort of backup plan if your local district councilmember is unresponsive. I'd say a mix of 7 by-district members and 2 at-large members would be ideal.
Detroit is very much the exception to most U.S. cities with its all at-large system, and there's no sign that it has been a smashing success. Anything to improve local accountability and foster a more district/neighborhood focus would be a good thing.
Post Number: 680
|Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 1:39 pm: || |
Yes. This is something that really needs to be changed. Its linked to the Chicago political corruption days of the early 20th century, but I'm not sure.
It makes no sense to have council members having no allegiance to a certain part of the city.
Post Number: 10
|Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 1:51 pm: || |
I think the 7 X 2 idea of DougW is a really good idea. My concern with this is with the way the Council currently does business (What's in it for me attitude). I think even less would get done, as then the Council members could grandstand on a larger stage and point how they (and their district) are getting shortchanged.
That could really hamper anything constructive from happening in the city.
Post Number: 2199
|Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 2:11 pm: || |
^DC uses a hybrid system: 1 member from each of 8 wards, 4 at-large members, and a Chair elected citywide.