NWPC-WA President Liz Berry quoted in the Seattle Times about how district elections for Seattle City Council this year have opened the doors for women, people of color and young people to run for office:
“The money you need to raise is much lower,” said Liz Berry, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington. “There are fewer people who you need to talk to. When you’re running citywide, doorbelling is a crazy thing to do. But running in a district, you can try to go door to door and win voters one by one.”
Three current council members have decided to leave City Hall next year rather than seek re-election. “That also means more opportunity for new people,” Berry said.
In 2013, when there were four council seats in play, 10 candidates made the primary ballot. In 2011, when there were five seats up for grabs, there were 13 candidates.
With all nine seats available this year, there are 36 campaigns registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. More hopefuls are waiting in the wings; the deadline to file with King County Elections is May 15.
Seattle voters endorsed the change to district elections by approving a 2013 ballot measure.
“It’s exciting to have young people, people of color and women running for office,” Berry said. “We predicted this would happen, to some degree. But we didn’t know how many people would actually jump in — the extent has really blown us away.”