Charlotte’s City Council members have long wanted to double the length of their terms, from two years to four years. But facing pressure from voters, they decided Monday night to drop their latest attempt to do so.
In a 7-3 vote, the council decided Monday not to move toward a referendum asking voters to approve the longer terms. The decision came after a contentious, months-long debate over the issue.
Charlotte’s legal charter gives the City Council the power to decide to extend the length of their terms. However, voters could require the change to go on the ballot with just 5,000 signatures — a light burden in a city of close to a million people.
Because of that inevitability, the council appeared headed toward putting the 4-year terms on the ballot.
But several City Council members who have been on record supporting longer terms ended up voting against moving forward. Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield said she voted no because she wanted the council to just go ahead and extend the terms without asking voters.
Voters typically overwhelmingly reject attempts to entrench power. A poll from the PAC Forward Charlotte found that nearly two-thirds of Charlotte voters were opposed to extending City Council terms to four years.