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Virginia Beach considers public input for 10-1 election system

Virginia Beach city council members met to see if they want to continue a plan for public input.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Tuesday,  the City of Virginia Beach’s election system was a main topic at the city council meeting. Council members discussed whether to hold a public input plan for their new "10-1 election ward district system" or not.

It's a debate on whether or not to have a public input plan for the current 10-1 election system in Virginia Beach. A court order allowed voters to use that system last November.

The 10-1 system means that instead of voting in an "at-large" system for every member on the city council and school board -- as had been done in past years -- residents can only vote for the candidate representing their district.

Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten thinks the new system worked well during the last election cycle.

“It was a system, the 10-1 system basically provided the most diverse council that we have," Wooten said.

Right now, city leaders still need to adopt the 10-1 election system. Wooten thinks council members should give the new system the green light.

“I just think right now we should give the electoral system some time," said Wooten. 

During city council briefings on Tuesday, city staff presented proposals for input. They said it includes election education and several public meetings.

“We can livestream them. I'm proposing at least one meeting in each district," said City of Virginia Beach Director of Communications Tiffany Russell. 

But Wooten thinks city leaders should stick to the 10-1 election system as-is. If not and public input is provided, she believes that feedback could change the election system that she said worked well.

“As I mentioned that’s going to lead to a referendum that could potentially change what we have in a 10-1 system," said Wooten. 

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