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Sen. Edwards says Asheville's district referendum is 'a sham,' doesn't change the law

“Despite the fact that they’ve wasted taxpayers’ time and money on a sham of an election that they knew would attract such a low turnout, it still does not change the law," Sen. Chuck Edwards said in a release on Wednesday. (Photo credit: North Carolina General Assembly)

A state senator is calling Asheville's referendum vote a "sham" the day after residents voted against electoral districts for city council.

“Despite the fact that they’ve wasted taxpayers’ time and money on a sham of an election that they knew would attract such a low turnout, it still does not change the law," Sen. Chuck Edwards said in a release on Wednesday.

North Carolina lawmakers passed a law introduced by Edwards in June 2017 requiring Asheville to draw city council districts maps by Nov. 15. City council members then decided to place a referendum on the ballot to see how residents felt about the districts.

The City of Asheville Charter Amendment regarding the six electoral districts for city council was voted down during Tuesday's election, with 75.11 percent voting No and 24.89 percent voting Yes.

"Unfortunately, the city council doesn’t seem to understand what most ordinary citizens do – that following the law isn’t optional," Edwards said of the referendum. "For months, they have blatantly ignored the law, then organized and helped defeat a referendum in an attempt to preserve the status quo system from which they personally benefit."

"I call on the Asheville City Council to stop using taxpayer-funded resources to break the law and instead fulfill their duty to ensure all Asheville residents have fair representation,” Edwards added.

Sen. Edwards represents District 48, which covers Henderson, Transylvania and southern Buncombe County -- including a piece of South Asheville.

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