The City Council appeared to settle the issue of its own upcoming election at the Tuesday, June 15 City Council meeting.
Like everything else involving the 2021 City Council elections, the decision was made in a roundabout way.
City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson made a motion that the mayor and at-large City Council races be held at the same time as the district City Council races and it passed by an 8-1 vote with Councilmember Justin Outling voting no.
Actually, Johnson’s motion was considerably shorter she said, “I move we run one election for everybody.”
She added, “I don’t think we should have two elections.”
The passage of that motion would delay all City Council elections until the spring of 2022, with the primary held on primary day for the statewide 2022 election, which is March 8, if Gov. Roy Cooper signs the bill passed by the legislature.
Senate Bill 722, which is waiting for Cooper to sign it into law, allows a municipality to split its elections and hold the citywide races on schedule this fall, because they are not affected by the Census, and hold the district races in March.
In Greensboro the citywide races would be the mayoral race and the race for the three at-large city councilmembers.
By passing a motion to hold one election the City Council effectively delayed all the elections to March without saying that was what was being done, because Senate Bill 722 delays all City Council district races until March 2022 and the City Council would not have the option of holding all the elections this fall.
Outling said he opposed making the decision without any public input. He also said that there was no legal reason for the mayor and at-large city councilmembers to extend their terms.
City Attorney Chuck Watts said that it would be better to wait for Cooper to sign the bill before taking action.
Watts said, “I think it’s a forgone conclusion but that doesn’t make it law.”
According to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, the cost of holding a separate election for the mayor and at-large city councilmembers this fall would be about $280,000.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “Say someone loses in that November election, they could turn around and file for a district seat because the filing is in December.”