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Virginia Beach completes first election with new system. How did it go?

Mayor Dyer said it went as well as it could have, but wants to get public input. He said if there’s a better option for future elections, that’s not off the table.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Tuesday was the first time voters in Virginia Beach used the 10-1 voting system.

That means instead of voting in an "at-large" system for every member on city council and school board, residents could only vote for the candidate representing their district.

The new system is something that confused and divided some voters up until Election Day.

"I think voting for district candidates is going to be very helpful for the people. It’s going to give the residents more say of what goes on in the City of Virginia Beach," Virginia Beach resident Stephen Johnston told 13News Now back in August.

At the time, Virginia Beach resident Jack Seal disagreed.

"I feel like it wasn’t an issue there needed to be changed, quite frankly. I know there’s some discussion about possibly, 'Well if they’re not in my district, they are not looking out for me' and I didn’t really get that feeling."

Now that most of the votes are counted, how did it go?

"I think it went as well as it could have," said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer.

This change came about when Virginia Beach residents Latasha Holloway and Georgia Allen alleged in a 2017 lawsuit that the at-large system diluted voting strength among people of color.

RELATED: Federal judge orders Virginia Beach to adopt changes to its voting districts

Initially, a federal judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but in July, an appeals court threw out that decision.

Around the same time, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2021 doing away with the all-at-large system.

Dyer said, even on Election Day, there was still some confusion as to new polling locations and who was on the ballot.

RELATED: New system in Virginia Beach for this year's elections

"The system that we had yesterday was hoisted upon us. We had no choice, we did the best we can, but you know let’s take a serious look at how it affected people."

He said he wants to hear from people in the community, possibly by holding forums, to hear what they think. Dyer said if there’s a better direction to go for future elections, that’s not off the table.

"Maybe get a lot of public input and see what direction we’ll take from there," he said. "We want to make sure that we are a city of inclusion and don’t disenfranchise anybody, so if we can come up with a better mousetrap, let’s see what we can do, but let’s ask the public about it first."

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