Opinion: Letter to the Editor: New Voting Rights Act in Virginia: Changes for Alexandria?

Just recently a federal judge ruled that the “at large” method Virginia Beach uses to elect Council Members is illegal and can’t be used in future elections as It violates the Voting Rights Act, which in turn dilutes the voting power of the minorities. This action should open the door for all jurisdictions in the state of Virginia that use the “at large” method to elect their Councils especially here is Alexandria which uses a convoluted “at large” voting process allowing its citizens to vote for all six of council seats from a slate of an undetermined number of candidates.

Conversely, the Alexandria School Board does not have an "at large" process. The City is divided into three voting districts, and three Board members are elected from each district, so voters can only vote for their three respective district's candidates. If "wards" are good enough for the School Board, then why are they not good enough for the Council as well?

If there is some actual merit to representational government, then it should apply to both the City Council and the School Board alike. The preponderance of evidence is there — the ward system occupies a storied role in the development of the democratic process of our country. Lets change our system now before we are taken to court and told to adopt a lawful system akin to Virginia Beach.

Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet


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