Bainbridge Island is divided into three wards: north, central, and south. Each ward is required to be in proportion to the population, and all are to be as nearly equal in population as possible in accordance with RCW 29.70.100(4).
The Council system consists of two representatives from each ward and an "at-large" Council member representing the Island as a whole. Councilmembers in each ward are elected in staggered years for four-year terms to increase the likelihood of multiple candidates in each ward.
City Council positions are divided up as follows:
Position number one shall be elected from the city at-large
Position numbers two and seven are assigned to the north ward
Positions four and five are assigned to the central ward
Positions numbers three and six are assigned to the south ward
Elected Council candidates must be registered voters of the city at the time of filing and have been residents of the city for a period of at least one year preceding the election. City Council candidates must reside in their ward at the time of filing. RCW 42.04.020, RCW 35A.12.030.
In the primary election, voters vote for the position in their ward and for the at-large position. In the general election, voters vote for all positions.