Municipal election problems a mixed bag

The question keeps being brought up as to why is there not enough local candidates so there are challengers for those currently in office? The answer is really a bit of a mixed bag of problems.

The first problem is we hold elections every two years for state and federal offices. By holding local elections on an off year you are saying to the voters that the local elections really do not matter. If you wish for more candidates and better candidates the local elections are going to have to get in sync with the state and federal election. Not only will there be more and better candidates you will get better results because more people will have spoken.

Second is the operations of the local political parties. One party appears to control the elections for local offices, so why should they make an effort to provide better candidates than those who are currently holding the offices? The local political parties have got to do a much better job at selecting candidates for local offices!

There is so much adverse rhetoric by a local political party against opponents of their party there is little honor in running for office because of the bitterness that has arisen in politics at all levels

Finally the problem with all elections for office is that the districts or wards have been gerrymandered in such a manner as to provide a predictable outcomes. Gerrymandering has got to be stopped. Removing gerrymandering is very simple. For the state of North Carolina, you start in the northeast corner of the state and draw a district that is as close as possible to square that it contains an equal amount of voters, plus or minus 2 percent, as the remaining districts of the state will contain. The remaining district of the state will follow by having districts that are as close to square as possible. When it comes to counties and cities, the mold for districts and wards has been set by the state’s square districts starting in the northeast corner of the county or city. There should be no elongated or squiggly districts such as our second district.

Ray Shamlin

Rocky Mount