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It’s time for St. Pete to update a redistricting loophole. A Times Editorial Board recommendation
This one is a no brainer.
"I Voted" stickers.
"I Voted" stickers. [ ROBYN BECK/AFP | Getty Images North America ]
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published Oct. 6|Updated Oct. 14

In the Nov. 8 election, St. Petersburg voters get to weigh in on four ballot measures — two referendums and two charter amendments. One of them would update some language in the city charter to close a loophole related to the redistricting process, which is the focus of this recommendation. To read the Times recommendation on the other three city ballot questions, click here.

Charter amendment 2: Changing residency requirements – Yes

This one is a no brainer. The city charter requires City Council members to resign immediately if they no longer live in their district. But it’s possible that a sitting council member could end up not living in their district due to redistricting, the process of redrawing districts every 10 years. A newly drawn district might not include the home of duly elected council members who still have a couple years left to serve on their terms. Should they have to resign simply because the district was redrawn? Certainly not.

Voting yes on this amendment would close that loophole. Updating the charter would allow council members whose homes are drawn out of a district to serve the remainder of their term as long as they still lived in the original district or the new district. This is a commonsense update to the city’s charter.

On charter amendment 2, the Tampa Bay Times recommends voting Yes.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Conan Gallaty. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.

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