Letter: Vote ‘no’ to at-large seats

By The Daily Illini

On Election Day, students will be asked whether they want to add two “at-large” seats to the Urbana City Council. These seats would be elected citywide, instead of from discrete neighborhoods.

Those pushing to add these seats argue that more voters turn out in some areas of the city than others. They feel voters who live in areas with higher turnout deserve a greater voice in government.

The slacking areas of the city to which they’re referring are the areas where students live. They say that since students don’t vote as much as wealthy homeowners, they shouldn’t have equal representation in city government. What they seem to forget is a small document called the U.S. Constitution, which mandates equal representation for everyone, whether they choose to exercise their right to vote.

Because at-large representatives have to campaign throughout the city and can’t knock on every door across town, they replace personal contact with media saturation. This quickly escalates campaign spending and leads to costly races. Who will win these seats? The wealthy homeowners who think their vote should count more than yours.

Students living in Urbana currently enjoy a city council that values their contributions to the city and demonstrates this by addressing their needs. I urge my fellow students to vote “no” on the question of at-large seats this November.

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Erin Janulis

senior in LAS