February 21, 2023

University of Virginia to Assist Virginia Beach in Exploring Options for a Future Election System

A new system would entail a change to the city charter, which requires General Assembly approval.

City council chamber

The City has partnered with the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service (CCPS) to provide a variety of opportunities for Virginia Beach residents to learn about potential election systems and then share their preferences in order to guide the City Council in selecting which election system to adopt before the 2024 election.

The community engagement process will include the facilitation of 12 community meetings, legal counsel to review and recommend viable election system options and conducting a resident survey. Results will be shared with City Council in early summer 2023.

Community meetings will be held this spring throughout the city, offering in-person, livestream and virtual participation options. Specific dates and locations will be announced soon, along with information about the public input process.

“Residents made it clear in our most recent resident satisfaction survey that they want more opportunities to participate in City policy development and decision making, and we’re making every effort to let them know the message was received,” said Virginia Beach Communications Director Tiffany Russell.

“It’s vital that our residents understand what these different options entail before they can be expected to provide meaningful feedback. Our partners with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service will ensure that anyone who attends will be able to offer a fully informed opinion.”

CCPS has assembled a team of legal experts to make recommendations on election system options for the City to consider moving forward and consult with CCPS throughout the community engagement process. This involves reviewing local election system legal cases and Virginia state law to identify legally viable options for Virginia Beach and preparing a report of findings and recommendations.

Confirmed legal team members for this initiative are:
Andrew Block, J.D., Cynthia Hudson, J.D. and Bertrall Ross, J.D.

About Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service offers public interest research, leadership development programs, local government consulting, and unbiased data and analysis to public servants and policymakers across the Commonwealth. Guided by its values of access, collaboration, and impact, the Cooper Center’s services help build strong communities across Virginia.

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