When Elizabeth City went to a ward system in 1987, with four wards each electing two council members and the mayor elected at-large, it was partially intended to allow minorities to elect candidates of their choice, but not allow any one group to take over the entire council and exclude others. Each ward has roughly the same population. Ward 4, where Elizabeth City State University student Montravias King filed as a candidate for city council, has 5,186 residents according to the 2010 census. Of that number, 67.7 percent of residents are black.
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