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New Push For Seattle City Council District Elections

Staff Reporter

A new citizens group started a campaign Thursday for a change to the way Seattle elects City Council members.


The group is called Seattle Districts Now. They want seven of the nine City Council members to be elected by geographic district.

Right now, council members do not represent any geographic district. They are elected by all Seattle residents. This is called an at–large election.

Faye Garneau is head of the Aurora Merchants Association and a member of Seattle Districts Now.

Garneau: "Well the at–large system fails everybody every day simply because of the fact that they are not able to run around the city constantly and know all the problems. It is just an impossible task. We are not unhappy with the council members. It is not about them. It is about bringing people and government closer together."

Garneau's group made a map that separates the city into seven districts. Each district represents about 85,000 people.

Some critics say the map disadvantages South Seattle because it only has two districts and North Seattle has five.

The group is hoping to collect more than 30,000 signatures to make the ballot in a year. If it passes, all City Council positions would be up for election in 2015.

Seattle is one of the last cities in the country with more than half–a–million residents and a City Council that is elected at large.

Seattle voters have rejected City Council districts three times.

For KUOW News, I'm Allie Ferguson.

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