News, Voting

Targeting of left-leaning cities continues with Asheville

A bill to change the way Asheville elects its city council members passed the Senate Wednesday, echoing changes handed down from Raleigh in other politically left-leaning cities.

You may remember a federal court recently struck down the General Assembly’s forced redistricting of the city of Greensboro.

The Asheville and Greensboro redistricting aren’t identical. But there are some interesting similarities:

* In both cases, the redistricting is opposed by the existing city council, elected by the actual citizens of each city.

* In both cases, the General Assembly rejected the idea of first holding a referendum in the city to decide on the redistricting to discern the actual will of the people there.

* Both redistricting plans would reduce the number and influence of council members elected at-large or by the entire city. In both cities, at-large seats tend to go to left-leaning candidates as the number of Democrats outstrips the number of Republicans.

Whether the Asheville redistricting will be successfully challenged in court remains to be seen. But it’s the latest example in what has become a well-established pattern of the Republican majority in Raleigh targeting the governments of cities with enduring Democratic majorities.

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