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December 17, 2013

Sellersburg approves new voting structure

Town keeps four districts but with new boundaries; no more townwide voting

SELLERSBURG — Sellersburg voters will have a few less decisions to make the next time they cast their ballots during a municipal election year.

The Sellersburg Town Council unanimously voted Monday to change the town’s voting structure. Instead of voting in all five council races, Sellersburg voters will vote in the race for their own district representative and one At-large council member.

“We’re actually going back to something that Sellersburg had done before,” said Town Council President Paul Rhodes. “I think it allows the people in each district to better know who represents them specifically in that district.”

Rhodes said he sees several advantages in the new voting structure.

“I think one of the advantages is no one large voting group can actually control the town,” Rhodes explained. “It has to be a pretty balanced representation from each district.”

Rhodes said the decision to make the change came after a “balanced discussion” between council members and members of the community.

“ [Council members] were out asking the people what they wanted, and people stated that they would prefer the district representation,” said Town Attorney Jake Elder.

The council also unanimously adopted a new council map, which became a necessity when the town annexed the Covered Bridge neighborhood. The town had considered changing its structure to define five council districts — which would have eliminated the At-large seat on the council — but were forced to keep four districts when a statutorily required population balance between the proposed five districts could not be found, Elder said.

“We’ve got pretty good balance. I don’t believe any district has a difference of [more than] just a few percent population,” Rhodes said.

The new council District 1 mostly encapsulates the areas annexed by the town this year, Rhodes said. The area will be represented by At-large council Member Brian Meyer until the next municipal election.

A message left on Meyer’s cell phone seeking comment was not responded to by press time.

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