FOR L.I. TOWNS
of the basic principles of representative democracy is that the
closer an elected officials is to constituents, the better they
will be represented. Unfortunately, in many Long Island towns
most people are more likely to know their County Legislator, State
Assemblyperson, or even their State Senator, than any of their
Town Board members. This is due, in large part, to the old, outdated
"at large" method of electing Town Boards.
an at-large system, rather than each board member representing
his or her neighbors in a specific district, all are elected in
town-wide, multi-seat elections. The result has been overdevelopment,
congested roads, and unresponsive town government.
Neighborhood Network advocates Council Districts (also known as
the ward system) for Long Island Towns, as an important fundamental
reform of town government. In a Council District system, each
town council member represents a specific geographic area of the
town, and they are elected in single-seat, head-to-head elections.
This is the same way County Legislators, State Assemblymembers,
State Senators, and U.S. Representatives are elected. This system
makes town council members more accountable and more responsive
"At Large" Elections No Town Board Member is Responsible
to Your Community
community could have no board members who even live anywhere near
Town Board can safely pass measures that are unpopular in, or
detrimental to your community, because they can all make up any
lost votes in other areas of the town.
elections are slates and not head-to-head competitions, a challenger
can not run against an incumbent's record, and you can not directly
vote against someone with whom you disagree.
cost of running town-wide campaigns increases the influence of
big money on local politics.
do not get to know their board members as well as if a single
member represented them.
vote does not carry the most weight at the local level, it is
diluted by the whole town's population.
members that are distant from and unknown to the voters, and who
are dependent on expensive campaigns to get re-elected, are more
responsive to big money contributors and political machines than
they are to constituents.
"at-large" elections means that your vote carries less
weight in town-wide elections. Your individual vote is less important
to a council member who is elected town-wide, than to one who
represents you and your community in a limited geographic district.
by districts does not increase the number of board members or
the size of town government. It does ensure that you and your
community have a board member who is directly responsible to you.
Town Board Members from small districts opens the process up to
independents, community-based candidates, and independent-thinking
major party candidates who want to run primary challenges.
find out more about council districts call:
Neighborhood Network: 631-963-5454