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Opinion
The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor

Letter: Vancouver should vote by district

By Terrence Dunn, Vancouver
Published: June 14, 2024, 6:00am

The Vancouver City Council has a serious contactability and accountability problem. It is aided by the citywide voting system that we have. Because we have citywide elections for the council, rather than districts, no city resident has a representative on the council.

The National League of Cities is a nonprofit organization that fosters good government in local jurisdictions. It lists three advantages of district elections: better representation, more sensitivity to important problems and reduction in voter alienation. In California, more than 150 cities have made the change from voting citywide to districts, many because of legal challenges.

Our citywide elections have allowed our councilors to stay hidden and unresponsive. Questions that residents have can only be sent to the council’s website and are never answered. No individual councilor makes contact information available.

For example, the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council is taking action on road safety and there are two Vancouver council members on the board. All board members have a “website” link next to their names. The two Vancouver council members are the only ones for whom the link goes to a dead site.

A district voting system would be of great benefit to Vancouver residents. We deserve to have it.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter
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