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.
Among several hybrid options, the City Council selected a Hybrid 8-3 System. Under this system, there would be eight districts, each of which would elect one member 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). Three 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.
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.