Photo by Theresa Thompson on Flickr.

While DC’s mayoral and council races were effectively over after the primary, there are local elections worth paying attention to in November. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) seats are up for election.

The ANC system was created in 1974 with the goal of providing residents a forum to discuss issues impacting their neighborhood and take recommendations to various District government agencies. Across the 8 District wards, there are 37 ANCs. Each ANC is subdivided into Single Member Districts (SMDs) of approximately 2,000 people and each SMD has one elected commissioner who represents their constitutes of their corresponding ANC.

For example, I live in Mt. Pleasant (Ward 1). My ANC is 1D and my SMD is 1D05.  ANCs vary in size; some have as many of 12 SMDs while others have as few as two. To find your ANC and/or SMD, just type your address into the DC Citizen Atlas.

Unlike ward council members, ANC commissioners are not paid and are elected to a two-year term.  While often considered a thankless job, ANC commissioners can wield a lot of power. ANCs consider and present recommendations to government officials on a range of issues including parking, traffic, zoning, trash collection, and economic development, to name a few.  In short, these individuals can make a tremendous impact on your community, for good and for bad.

There are over 80 contested ANC seats on the November 2 ballot. A number of ANC seats face no challengers and there are even a handful of ANC seats that have no nominees. The list of candidates can be found at the DC Board of Election, in addition to maps of the ANC areas.

It is often hard to find information on ANC candidates, but a number of local blogs provide profiles of candidates, like The Hill is Home and Frozen Tropics for races around Capitol Hill, H Street and surrounding neighborhoods.

The ANC system was designed to provide residents a direct link with the larger DC government as well as serve as a forum to voice community concerns. Get informed and vote on November 2.

We’ll be putting together some endorsements in key contested ANC races. Do you have a contested race in or around your neighborhood? What issues matter to you in those races? If you’ve been following the campaign, which candidates do you like?

Tagged: anc, dc, politics

Lynda Laughlin is a family demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau. She holds a PhD in sociology and enjoys reading, writing, and researching issues related to families and communities, urban economics, and urban development. Lynda lives in Mt. Pleasant. Views expressed here are strictly her own.