Only the 5 district/2 citywide proposition has been fully vetted with years of public input and has the support of community leaders, organizations and unions!
This November, take two steps for improving our democracy. Step One: Vote Approve to Amend the charter on Prop 1; Step Two: choose Five Council Districts and Two Citywide (Option A) for fair and equitable representation on Prop 2.
This is what your ballot will look like:
Everett Districts Now worked with the city council to include our 5/2 initiative on the ballot. If approved, Prop 1 would create districts and Prop 2 will have two options-our proposal is option A for 5 district two citywide to bring representation and power to all neighborhoods. The alternative of four districts with three citywide maintains the status quo, as three citywide candidates and the district candidate could be elected from the same district and control the four-vote majority.
Five districts would improve diversity and bring a voice to all neighborhoods. Currently, all council members are elected at-large, as a result, 5 out of 7 live in the northern part of the city, leaving our southern neighbors without direct representation. 5/2 districts encourage coalition building to pass new laws, would ensure continuity, and withstands legal scrutiny. A councilmember from each of five districts will live in his/her district and will be aware of local issues and better able to address them (like public health and safety issues).
Here’s a link to a research summary by the National Association of Cities:
This summary states, “Mixed systems which provide more district seats than at-large seats are more likely to stand Constitutional scrutiny.” The Everett Districts Now plan has 5 at-large or citywide seats and will therefore be more likely to withstand legal scrutiny.
Explanation of Proposition 1
Everett is a Charter city, that means we follow a charter that established policies and rules of governance, like a constitution for the city. The charter can be amended or changed but any changes have to be approved by a majority vote of the people.
Amendments can be submitted by the city council, or through the council after a review by citizen committee or it can amended by a citizen’s initiative or petition.
In plain language, Prop 1 states that the council has submitted charter amendments to amend certain sections of the charter to change our voting system from seven citywide to a specific number of districts. District boundaries would be determined by an independent commission (a board of 9 people: 7 appointed by each council member and 1 by the Mayor and then the board appoints a 9th member). The Mayor election stays the same. Boundaries would be redrawn every 10 years based on the decennial census (this is state law). Council terms would stay four years, following a transition. The transition plan for 5/2 is to split the four seats up for election in 2019. Two would be two year terms and two would be four year terms-these would become the at large or citywide positions. In 2021, five seats would then be up for election and these would be the five district positions.
The charter as it is now can be found here: https://www.codepublishing.com/WA/Everett/html/EverettCH/EverettCH.html
Explanation of Proposition 2
If Prop 1 passes by simple majority, proposition 2 will decide the number of districts. Voters can choose between Option A-Five districts and two citywide (the only option supported by community leaders and endorsed by major organizations and the Herald in 2012) or Option B four districts and three citywide. Even if a voter chooses ‘rejected’ on Prop 1, their vote will still be counted for Prop 2 to decide the number of districts.
5 of our 7 council members live north of 41st Street, while the majority of our city residents live south of 41st Street. This is not fair and equitable representation. Historically that has been the case, and it results in many neighborhoods having no direct voice in local government.
Will District Elections Cost More Money?
No! According to the Snohomish County Auditor there is no increased cost for district based ballots. Districts do not result in any additional staff or new councilmembers. The only cost associated with districts is the occasional creation of district commissions for setting district boundaries to balance populations between districts in accordance with state law.
Why Five Districts Instead of Four?
Five districts means that even if both at-large council members lived in the same district they would not control a majority of council votes. Under a four district model three at large council members living in the same district would, combined with the district council member, control the council by a majority. Five districts provides better representation and prevents any district from having a majority of votes.
Who Supports Having Five Districts?
You and your Everett neighbors! A survey by the City of Everett indicated that 80% of those responding wanted Everett to elect council members by district, and 74% of those responding wanted Everett to have five or more districts! Five districts is also supported by Councilmembers Brenda Stonecipher and Judy Tuohy, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Everett Firefighters 46, Carpenters Union 70, Snohomish County Young Democrats, Snohomish County Democrats, Snohomish County Libertarians and the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington. See the full list on our endorsements page!
5/2 districts is the People’s Choice plan developed through a grassroots community effort. Please vote “Approved” on Proposition 1 to create districts in Everett, and select “Option A” on Proposition 2 for five districts and two citywide for fair and equitable representation.
Thank you to everyone who donated, walked, strategized, volunteered, signed and supported us! The Everett Districts Now plan for five district; two at-large is on the ballot this November!
You did it! The City Council agreed! It's time for better representation in Everett!
On July 11th, Everett City Council members had a unanimous vote to place 2 propositions on the November ballot to establish districts for council seats. The move was a direct response to the community effort to create 5 districts and 2 city-wide seats.
Everett Districts Now!, has been collecting signatures to amend the city charter and were on track to collect the needed 3,500 signatures. EDN has suspended our effort to collect signatures so as not to confuse voters with a second ballot measure. In the final days, the council amended their proposal to include all the Everett Districts Now amendments to the timeline and other requirements. #DistrictsNow
City of Everett Survey Indicates Overwhelming Support for Council Districts
Priorities identified by Everett residents match community effort for 5 districts and 2 at-large
Currently, all council members are elected at-large, as a result, 5 out of 7 live in the northern part of the city. Districts would ensure fair and equal representation across the entire city. A city government that comes from the people will better serve all people.