Mar 20, 2024 - News

Raleigh City Council considering a move to 4-year terms

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Raleigh City Council wants to make its term lengths longer.

Why it matters: Raleigh's mayor and City Council currently serve two-year terms, with all eight members elected at once.

  • City Council is considering a change that would give councilmembers and the mayor four-year terms and create staggered elections starting in 2026.
  • It is also considering potentially adding more seats to the council.

Zoom out: Many cities throughout the state give their councilmembers four-year, staggered terms, including Durham — though its mayor still only serves two-year terms.

Flashback: This would be just the latest change to local elections if enacted.

  • In 2021, Raleigh's local elections were moved from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years, which the City Council at the time described as an effort to increase turnout.
  • Some community members criticized the move for giving that council another year in office.

How it works: The city will hold a public hearing on lengthening terms on April 2, the council decided on Tuesday.

  • It would then need to vote at a later meeting whether to adopt the changes for the 2026 election — or to put it up to a ballot referendum in November that would let Raleigh residents vote on the change.
  • If the change is made, the council would then need to decide which council seats would be elected to a two-year term in 2026 and which ones would be for four years to create the stagger, according to Janie Richardson, an attorney for the city.

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