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Virginia Beach voters can expect changes at the polls in November

Holloway v. City of Virginia Beach was filed back in 2017, alleging the city’s at-large election diluted minority voting strength.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If you live in Virginia Beach, you will see some changes in how you vote in the next election Specifically, who you can vote for.

"The very distinctive change is that we are no longer where you can vote for everyone all over the city. You have to vote for the person who lives or resides in your district," Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten said at an information session on Thursday.

The push for that change came when Holloway v. City of Virginia Beach was filed back in 2017.

The plaintiffs, Latasha Holloway and Georgia Allen, alleged the city’s at-large election diluted minority voting strength. The city argued against those claims.

RELATED: Court declares Virginia Beach's at-large city council election system illegal, says it disadvantages minorities

Before that lawsuit was settled in December in favor of the plaintiffs, state legislators passed three bills doing away with the at-large elections first.

"Now all of a sudden, this idea of returning to the status quo was kind of turned upside down in the middle of the case," said Deputy City Attorney Christopher Boynton. 

What does that mean for you when you head to the polls in November?

Going forward, you will only vote for the councilmember running in your district and the mayor, whose position remains an at-large seat.

Through redistricting, the city has created three minority opportunity districts. That means they drew districts 4, 7 and 10 in a way that gives minority members a better opportunity to elect a candidate who shares their political beliefs.

RELATED: Virginia Beach will appeal federal ruling on voting system

The city is still pursuing an appeal of the Holloway v. City of Virginia Beach lawsuit, but until then, they are moving forward with this new system.

"We don't have a decision at this moment and that means we are exceedingly likely to have an election under the 10-1 system you're hearing about," said Boynton.

He said although they know what the districts are, they are still waiting on precinct assignments.

Once they have that figured out, you will receive a card in the mail telling you which district you’re in, but until then, you can put in your address on VBgov.com.

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