The Austin-area League of Women Voters says it now supports the “10-1” plan for geographic districts for the Austin City Council.
The plan, supported by single-member district advocates Austinites for Geographic Representation, would create a city council comprised of members representing 10 individual districts, with only one member – the mayor – running city-wide. Currently all council members are elected city-wide.
The League of Women Voters spent a year studying how city council members are elected, and looking at what happened in other large cities that changed from an at-large system to one that was fully or partially district-based.
League president Stewart Snider says the league decided to endorse the 10-1 plan because it thinks the change will benefit voters. He tells KUT News that the proposal “will increase civic participation, and we think it will get people closer to their elected representatives on city council.”
The league is also supporting a plan for citizens to draw the district lines, not elected officials. Both Austinites for Geographic Representation and the disbanded Charter Revision Committee have also called for an independent citizens’ committee to plot the districts.
Austinites for Geographic Representation are gathering signatures to put its 10-1 plan on the ballot. However, the City Council also has the authority to put its own single-member district plan forward although some council members have said they don’t support putting dueling plans on the ballot.
The issue is expected to go to voters this November.