Cumberland CountyCumberland County is divided into two districts for the purpose of electing county commissioners. Two commissioners are elected from district one, three from district two, and two at large. Elections are staggered and Commissioners are elected for four-year terms. African Americans within Cumberland seem to be adequately represented under this system ñ they make up 33% of the voting age population, and two out of the seven commissioners are black. However, should any problems arise, the fact that multi-member districts already exist might make it easier to move towards full representation in Cumberland than within in other communities.
A mixture of at large posts and district posts are also used when electing the Cumberland Board of Education. The Board has nine members, three of whom are elected at large, and six of whom are elected from districts. Elections are staggered, with races for the at large and district seats taking place in alternate cycles. No African Americans hold any of the at large seats, but it has been possible for minorities to be elected to district posts. However, two of the current Board members representing districts two and three were appointed, suggesting that the election system may be functioning in a less than satisfactory way.
The largest city in Cumberland County, Fayetteville, elects nine council members from single member districts. Four of these districts are drawn so as to have a majority-minority population, and this system has been successful in giving African Americans within Fayetteville their fair share of representation. Moreover, Fayetteville is one of only 18 cities in the entire U.S. with a population of over 100,000 and African Americans in the minority to have elected a black mayor. There would seem little grounds for claiming that the current voting system discriminates against blacks within the city, although if a workshop were to be held in this area, Fayetteville might make a good location since is a universities within the city as well as a strong black government presence.
One town within Cumberland where minorities are arguably under-represented is Hope Mills. 15.9% of the town population is African American. The mayor and five commissioners are elected every two years. All of them are currently white. Other towns within the county, most notably Stedman and Wade ñ have a significant proportion of minority residents, and thus community groups likely to benefit from information on alternative voting systems. However, these towns are probably too small to be used as grounds to visit the area.