At-large voting remains in place for election

By Staff
City's next mayor will not serve on council
In Hartselle, politics can be a neighborhood issue.
Because Hartselle's council is elected in an at-large basis, it's possible for every council representative and the mayor to live within the same neighborhood.
Hartselle's council is elected by the city at large and although candidates run in district races, the districts aren't tied to a geographic area. Voters cast their ballots in all races.
A move to change that procedure failed last year. Proponents of the district system said it ensured all segments of the city were represented.
Councilman Don Hall said he's glad the district idea failed and prefers an at-large system.
"It makes the council responsible to the entire public," he said.
If the council does ever approve a district system, it would be required to draw up the districts and then have them approved by the U.S. Justice Department. Reapproval would have to be sought before any future redistricting.
The justice department is required to approve the distracting to ensure racial equity in voting districts.
Whoever is elected Hartselle's next mayor, their job will be different than that of their predecessors.
Alabama law requires a mayor no longer be a member of the council once their city exceeds 12,000 in population. Hartselle made that jump about three years ago, and the change will go into effect following the swearing in of the next mayor.
The future mayor will not cast a vote on council decisions.
The mayor will have veto power, but that can be overruled by a two-third vote of the council.
The change will mean more of the work setting the agenda will fall to the council president.

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