The City of Virginia Beach asked the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to serve as an objective third party to solicit residents’ feedback on their local election system and to carry out an independent legal and social science research review regarding election systems more generally, to inform Virginia Beach’s plan of action. To carry out this work, the Cooper Center partnered with the State and Local Government Policy Clinic at UVA’s School of Law and community facilitators. Together, this team conducted a scientific probability-based city-wide survey, facilitated a series of public community input sessions, and carried out an expert review of federal and state law on election system options.
Across the multiple phases of research conducted for this project, the findings align to support retaining the 10-1 system first implemented in 2022 in Virginia Beach. This is in line with the opinions of the majority of residents, demonstrated in both the survey and community input sessions; it is consistent with what research indicates is an effective, representative electoral system; and it is compliant under both federal and state election law.