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March 16
Board to Form Citizen Committee to Discuss Voter Representation in Wake County

Public urged to volunteer to participate, make voices heard

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is developing a new committee to engage the public on the issue of voter representation at the county level. Board members discussed the formation and possible structure of the Citizens' Committee on County Representation during its regularly scheduled work session Monday, March 16.

"During recent legislative debate, we heard that some citizens feel changes are needed to the way the board is structured and its members elected, while other citizens do not," said Board Chairman James West. "In Wake County, we believe all people deserve the opportunity to share their thoughts and make their voices heard. We are forming this committee to give them that chance."

Senate Bill 181, which would increase the number of Wake County commissioners from seven to nine and redraw district lines, does not currently include the opportunity for broad public input. As stated in the resolution the board approved on March 9, commissioners oppose the bill, because it would allow state legislators – not the county's governing body – to determine if changes should be made to the way voters are currently represented at the county level.

Wake County's current method of electing county commissioners, residential districts voted countywide, has been in place since 1981. It has historically yielded geographically and demographically diverse representation on the board.

Wake County commissioner districts were last adjusted in 2012. Like previous redistrictings, the 2012 action was developed locally to reflect updated population data from the census.

"We have a strong history in Wake County of gathering public input on issues that will directly affect our citizens," said Chairman West. "We will continue that tradition by forming this committee to generate a meaningful conversation on how to best represent the voters at the county level."

Wake County is currently working with a citizen committee to review the transit plan as it evolves and has examined key community issues in the past using special committees, including:

  • The Sustainability Task Force in 2011;
  • The Growth Issues Task Force in 2008;
  • The Citizen Facility Advisory Committee in 2008; and
  • The Blue Ribbon Committee on the Future of Wake County in 2006.

The Citizens' Committee on County Representation is expected to be made up of a dynamic cross-section of people from across Wake County. Their diverse perspectives will provide valuable insight on county voter representation in a fast-growing area.

The commissioners are scheduled to formally create the committee and begin appointing members at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 6. Anyone interested in participating is invited to fill out an interest form.





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