Senate Bill 722, which postpones municipal elections in cities including Greensboro that elect councilmembers from districts, has passed the state Senate and state House.
It is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper this week.
If Cooper signs the bill, the Greensboro City Council elections for the five district city councilmembers will be postponed, with the primary held March 8, 2022, at the same time as the primary for state and county offices.
However, the bill provides the City Council with the option of going ahead and holding the election for the mayor and the three at-large councilmembers in October and November this year as scheduled.
If the City Council votes to go with that option, the election for mayor and at-large councilmembers would be held this fall and the five district City Council seats would not be up for election until March 2022. So the seats held by Mayor Nancy Vaughan and At-large City Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson, Marikay Abuzuaiter and Michelle Kennedy would be up for election in November. The seats held by District 1 City Councilmember Sharon Hightower, District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells, District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling, District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann and District 5 City Councilmember Tammi Thurm would not be up for election until the spring of 2022.
Outling has announced he is running for mayor, so in this scenario he would be running in November and the candidates running for his District 3 City Council seat would run in March 2022.
This kind of split City Council election would add even more variables to what is already a confusing scenario.
Voter turnout for City Council elections have traditionally been extremely poor, with less than 20 percent of the eligible voters casting a ballot in the election. If the election is split, it is hard to imagine that taking five races off the ballot would do anything but reduce voter turnout.
Vaughan, who has announced she is running for reelection as mayor, said, “I think the council needs to run together.”
An item on the City Council election is on the agenda for the June 15 City Council meeting, so the decision on when that election will be held could be determined at that meeting, ending months of speculation.