Election Guide 2012The 2012 elections are uncharted territory for Buncombe County voters. For the first time ever, most county commissioners will be chosen via district elections. Meanwhile, Western North Carolina has been split between two different congressional districts.
Most Asheville residents are now in the 10th, which stretches southeast all the way to Gaston County. Buncombe County residents living north and west of town are still in the 11th Congressional District, which covers most of WNC. The districts for the state Legislature races were also redrawn.
To confirm your current polling place or other voter information, call the Buncombe County Board of Elections at 250-4200 or use the online “voter lookup” (http://avl.mx/mi).
And to help local voters make sense of these races, here are the results of our candidate survey. In each covered contest, we asked all the candidates a few key questions; we hope their answers help you decide whom to support. (RL Clark, Martin Nesbitt and Carol Peterson declined to participate; Tom Apodaca, who’s running unopposed, was not included in the survey.) To view the Election Guide, click the link below for the full PDF version.
(cover and interior illustrations by Brent Brown; candidate caricatures by Randy Molton)
Visit mountainx.com/election for candidate responses in each race (Buncombe Commissioners, Districts 1, 2 and 3; N.C. Statehouse, Districts 114, 115 and 116; U.S. Congress, Districts 10 and 11).
A near record number of ballots have already been cast during early voting, which began Oct. 18 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 3. But whether you take advantage of that opportunity or wait till Election Day, Xpress urges all eligible residents to make their voices heard.
District changesLast year, the North Carolina General Assembly fundamentally changed the way members of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners are elected.
Previously, voters countywide chose four commissioners and a chairperson to serve four-year terms.
Now, however, commissioner candidates run in one of three districts. District 1 (corresponding to Statehouse District 114) roughly follows the borders of Asheville. District 2 (corresponding to Statehouse District 115) includes much of the eastern part of the county, from Fairview and Black Mountain to Weaverville. And District 3 (corresponding to Statehouse District 116) lies mostly west of town, stretching from Arden in the south to Sandy Mush in the northwest.
Each voter will be asked to choose two commissioners (who must live in that district) plus the board chair, who'll still be elected countywide. This will expand the board to seven members.
In each district, the candidate receiving the most votes in 2012 will serve a four-year term; the other winner will be up for re-election in 2014. After that, all commissioners will serve four-year terms, with each district choosing one commissioner every two years. — Jake Frankel