Hybrid Representation: Districts and At-Large
The second potential alternative is a hybrid system. Lowell’s current voting system is “at-large,” meaning that each councilor is elected by everyone who votes in the City. Under the Hybrid option, some councilors and school committee members would be elected at-large, and some would be elected by districts or wards. There are three hybrid options from which the City can choose:
Hybrid 8-1 System. Under this system, there would be eight districts, each of which would elect one of the nine members of the City Council. At least two of the districts would be “majority-minority” (defined as a district where Asian-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos comprise a majority of the citizen voting age population). One City Councilor would be elected at-large. For School Committee elections, there would be four districts (the eight districts would be combined into groups of two), each of which would elect one of the six School Committee members. At least one of these districts would be majority-minority. Two School Committee members would be elected at large.
Hybrid 8-3 System. This system would be the same as the Hybrid 8-1 System, except that the City Council would expand to eleven total members, and three City Councilors would be elected at-large.
Hybrid 7-2 System. Under this system, there would be seven districts, each of which would elect one member of the nine-member City Council. At least two of the districts would be majority-minority. Two City Councilors would be elected at-large. For the School Committee, one School Committee member would be elected from each of the seven districts and the mayor would not serve on the School Committee. (This is the only one of the new options in which the Mayor does not serve on the School Committee.)
As in the case of District-Only, described here, the exact line drawing of districts is not yet available. If this option is selected, district lines will be drawn by an independent expert, who will also take into account the 2020 census data. However, districts must be roughly proportional in population size, regularly shaped, and take into consideration traditional boundaries, which includes neighborhoods.