Return Everett City Government to the Voters!
Improve Representation and Increase Democracy in Everett!
Institute Fair and Just Representation!
Similar cities have mixed or districted elections for city council races as at-large elections are considered less democratic. Seven out of ten similar First Class Cities (Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Yakima) depend on districts or a mix of district and at-large voting for council members.
We are a city of neighborhoods, facing important regional challenges-school funding, high crime rate and gang activity, park maintenance, and homelessness-finding solutions to these challenges are different when you live in the area affected.
We also have a lot to celebrate and love about Everett, like steady jobs, historic homes, an active music scene, and incredible natural environment. We want all of Everett to feel involved and valued at city hall!
Lack of representation for the southern part of Everett and a lack of diversity in socio-economic status, class, gender, ethnicity and race are seen as a root cause of apathy.
That apathy has given us low voter turn out, uncontested elections and limited citizen involvement.
Women, people of color, and members from different socio-economic classes are the exception on boards and commissions and on the City Council. Everett can and must do better.
Research studies and examples from similar First Class Cities' experiences show that in addition to improving minority, gender, race, and class representation, districts improve voter turn out, create a more unified involvement in our communities, and decrease voter apathy. Charter cities with a similar governance structure and size have successfully converted to district voting and now it’s time for Everett to follow.
There is a need for systematic change to address the disparity in representation and establish voting on the principles of equality and justice. Everett currently relies on an undemocratic voting system by electing council members all at-large. As a result, we have a concentration of 5 out of 7 council members living in the northern region of the city and a lack of diversity in gender, socio-economic status, race and ethnicity.
Public comments and input have been overwhelmingly in support of districted voting. Comments to both the City Council and the charter review committee (summer of 2016) have been in favor of creating districts and increasing representation. The Everett City Council has had multiple opportunities to give residents the chance to vote on this issue and they have repeatedly rejected calls for change. We have no other option but to move forward with a citizen’s initiative.
District representation has been successful for the Port of Everett and the Snohomish County. As a broadly representative committee, we see positive community engagement, diverse leadership and proud members of our community who live in the southern parts of the city.
Districts would Improve Quality of Life
District voting would decrease apathy, increase representation and improve the quality of life of all residents.
⦁ Serving a broad constituency reduces an elected official’s accountability.
⦁ At-large elections require more campaign spending, this creates a barrier to entry for potential candidates and limits the accessibility. Candidates for at-large contests expend a significantly greater amount of funds than district candidates.
⦁ Changing from an at-large to a district system has been found to increases the number of minority City Council members.
⦁ By creating districts, we believe we return city government to voters and our communities by elected direct representatives from each community.
⦁ Since each district sends one representative, that person is responsible for the well-being of that particular district, creating a situation where no neighboorhood is overlooked.
Diversity in government is needed for new ideas, improved representation and improved quality of life. Other cities understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion; multiple perspectives and backgrounds can confront challenges and find new solutions.
Districts Are Working in Washington!
After districting, Seattle elected a female majority including the first Latina and first Native American council members in Seattle's history and Yakima elected three Latina representatives for the first time in history. Districts are improving participation in elections with a record number of participants. These successful women were able to win because they were able to focus on the members of their districts.
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