The Greensboro City Council reached a consensus on going ahead with the City Council elections in November at the Tuesday, May 11 work session.
The City Council by tradition doesn’t vote at work sessions. However, after a presentation by City Attorney Chuck Watts, Mayor Nancy Vaughan asked that the resolution to move forward with the municipal election on Nov. 2 be placed on the agenda for the Tuesday, May 17 meeting, and there was no objection.
Watts had gone over the election laws and, when asked by Vaughan if he was recommending the council approve the resolution to move forward with the election on Nov. 2, Watts said, “I don’t see really that you have a choice.”
In a normal year the city would already have the data from the 2020 US Census, would have made the decision on redistricting and most likely would have already approved new districts if they were required.
Because of COVID-19, the 2020 Census figures are not expected until late September, which is a couple of months too late for the City Council to redistrict. By state law redistricting has to be completed no later than three business days before the filing period for the election, which this year opens on July 26.
Watts said that the best guess based on the available population figures is that the current districts will not meet the criteria to require redistricting, but until the actual 2020 Census data is received, it’s only a guess.
Since it wouldn’t make any sense to redistrict without the 2020 Census data, the other option for the City Council would be to ask the state to pass a local bill allowing Greensboro to delay the election until 2022.
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “I personally feel like I was elected to a four-year term.” She added that to delay the election “would be a disservice to the people of Greensboro and those considering running.”
Vaughan said, “I think the resolution that is attached would really need to be passed at the next meeting for the clerk to start the advertising and filing.”
City Manager David Parrish said, “It will be on the agenda next week.”
Until that vote on May 17, it won’t be official, but it seems all but certain the City Council election will be held Nov. 2 in the current districts.