Columbus City Council is expected to name a new member to fill its vacancy on Monday, and though Democratic group Yes We Can Columbus has one candidate as a finalist, they're protesting the proceedings.
Yes We Can will host a rally outside City Hall at 4:30 p.m. to demand City Council abolish the process to fill open Council seats. Communications coordinator Madeline Stocker says council members selecting a government representative isn't democratic.
“We hope there will be more conversations going forward about truly abolishing this appointment process,” Stocker says. “I don't see any solution other than completely getting rid of it that will really be a democratic solution that fulfills the needs of the people.”
Yes We Can candidate Jasmine Ayres, who lost her challenge in the November election, was announced as one of 13 finalists for the spot left open by former Council president Zach Klein.
Ayres received the fourth-highest number of votes from the November municipal elections, in which Democratic incumbents swept the three available seats. Activists have criticized Columbus City Council's election system as having a "discriminatory effect."
"It's really a much larger issue than filling the current seat. Because the way it works in Columbus is people are moving up the political pipeline," Stocker says. "We just saw Zach Klein become City Attorney, and Jaiza Page is running for judge, and Ginther himself was originally appointed to his seat so it really affects the entire structure of government."
Northland community council president Emmanuel Remy and Columbus Recreation and Parks commissioner Rob Dorans are considered favorites for the position.