If the measure is approved by voters this November, St. Petersburg City Council will be more representative of its communities
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Yesterday, the St. Pete Charter Review Commission (CRC) passed a proposal to change the City Council election system to single-member district elections. The measure will go before voters for their approval on this November’s ballot.
Currently, St. Pete has eight City Council members, elected in an at-large runoff system where candidates face the entire electorate citywide in the November runoff, regardless of which district they come from. As a result, in the past 15 years, Black candidates for the City Council have lost every runoff election against a white opponent.
The CRC’s action recommends ending the quixotic at-large runoff system, proposing true single-member district elections instead.
The following joint statement is by Emma Bellamy, senior staff attorney for the SPLC Action Fund, and Nick Warren, staff attorney for the ACLU of Florida:
“The way the St. Pete City Council is currently elected dilutes the voices of St. Pete neighborhoods and, disturbingly, impairs Black voters’ ability to elect candidates of choice, with racially discriminatory effects.
“We commend the Charter Review Commission’s action to fix these longstanding issues. If approved by voters, this single-member district charter amendment will ensure greater equity and responsiveness to all the City’s residents. “We look forward to voters having their say in November and getting the chance to improve local democracy in St. Pete.”