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The conservative vote is NO on voting by district

By Duncan Murrell
Posted Friday, October 13, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - A conservative voter, and any voter interested in looking out for the interest of farmers and small town in this county, the vote should be:

NO on Voting by District.

Make our commissioners answerable to the WHOLE county.

If Chatham County were enjoying relatively stable, straight-line population growth across the county, district voting might accomplish what its advocates claim: to ensure that NE Chatham voters don't dominate when selecting county commissioners, and that western and southern Chatham would have representatives on the board to defend and uphold their particular interests.

Unfortunately for that theory, population is exploding in Northeast Chatham, and because of the new communities and developments recently approved, will grow into the future at a rate far exceeding all other parts of the county. The result, under a district voting policy, is inevitably this: the maps will have to be redrawn at some point in the near future because of the one-person-one-vote rule. This rule was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and it's been repeatedly upheld in the decades since. Although Chatham County isn't bound specifically by the federal decision in Baker V. Carr, the law in North Carolina follows the principle of that case in ruling on the legality of legislative and local districts. If we were to adopt district voting by referendum, the county would suddenly be subject to a part of the General Statutes it had not been subject to before: G.S. 153A-22, which is very clear about the requirement that districts be as "nearly equal as practicable" in population.

In effect, one-person-one-vote means that one commissioner can't represent a district of 2,000 people, while another one represents one of 20,000 -- simple math shows that the voter in the less- populous district has more power per vote than the one in the more populous district. In practice, this means that the districts have to be fairly close in population, within reason. (Otherwise, you'd have to be redrawing the maps every year.)

So, if the goal is to level the playing field so that the liberal wingnuts of NE Chatham don't control everything, I'm afraid that district voting will do more harm than good. Very soon, as the population increases dramatically in NE Chatham, the districts will have to be redrawn as the law requires, and the inevitable result will be more districts (and more representatives) oriented toward the more populous NE section of the county, and fewer in the west and the south.

Futhermore, not only will the hippy, liberal, MSM-loving representatives of NE Chatham be greater in number on the county board, but they'll have absolutely no motivation to get out in the county and look out for the interests of anyone "but" those who live in their districts, since the people of Bear Creek and Siler City and Moncure and Goldston and everywhere in between won't be able to vote for (or against) them. The people of the rest of the county will be outnumbered on the board, and the board's decisions will inevitably skew toward the interests of the NE Chathamites.

At least, by the current system, liberal wingnuts have to get out into the county and meet people and respond to their interests, or risk losing votes.

In summary, under district voting, the board would eventually be dominated by the folks in NE Chatham, and the rest of the county would have no recourse to vote the liberal twits out. To me, that doesn't sound good for conservatives or rural folks.

The conservative vote is NO on voting by district. Make our commissioners answerable to the WHOLE county.

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