Election Season Is Upon Us

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Campaign signs whipping in the wind indicate we are in the height of election season.  Jonesboro will have a new mayor come November and some new faces will fill the seats of the Jonesboro City Council. Questions are being raised about how Jonesboro residents elect council members.

"It comes up over the years," said City Attorney, Phillip Crego.

In Jonesboro, council members have to live in the ward they represent, but Jonesboro City Attorney, Phillip Crego, says voters have the opportunity to vote at large.

"That's where everyone in the city votes for the candidate regardless of the ward that they live in," said Crego.

Crego has served as City Attorney for nearly 15 years, and says the alderman election process has been the same way since he's held this position.  Crego goes onto say the city can opt to change the way council members are elected.

"What I advocate is either a strict ward system where again, all the candidates live in their ward and voters of that ward only choose their reps," said Dr. Richard Wang.

Dr. Richard Wang chairs the Political Science department at ASU.  He says he believes it could create more diversity on the council, and he says it would create higher voter turnouts.

"The level of representation, I think, is enhanced in the ward. You know who you are voting for and you ask them, you got a problem in your neighborhood you go that person because you hold that person's political future in your hands," said Wang.

Crego said they held a public forum a few years ago to discuss the possibility of changing the alderman election process , and after much consideration and input the council decided not to change the way things are.