Officials working on new voting districts

Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Federal, state and local voting districts are slated to change as a result of the 2010 Census data, a process Decatur County officials are working through at present.

County Attorney Brown Moseley briefed county commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting on how the process is coming along. He showed off a first attempt at creating a new map of county districts, which are used to determine elections for county commissioners and Board of Education members. Moseley also briefed the school board at their meeting last Thursday.

The first proposal was created by a legislative office in Atlanta that is handling the redistricting, or reapportionment, process.

Moseley said he asked the legislative office to draw up a map that met four requirements: 1) Make the districts roughly equal in population; 2) maintain the historically black majority in Districts 1 and 3, in compliance with the U.S. Department of Justice’s supervision; 3) Keep each currently-elected incumbent in their respective district; 4) Make the least amount of geographic change to the current districts’ boundaries.

According to Moseley, the major change in the proposed map is a northward extension of District 1, which generally encompasses the area around Attapulgus. Because all of the districts should ideally be about equal in population, District 1 will need to expand into what is now Districts 2 and 4—due to District 1 losing 1,043 people in the 2010 Census.

While the districts will almost definitely see some change, due to growth and decline in population in different areas of the county, exactly how the district lines will be drawn isn’t final yet, Moseley said. He said there is time for local officials and citizens to comment on the proposed changes before they have to be submitted for approval by the Georgia Legislature, which will hold a special session concerning redistricting on Aug. 15.

County commissioners voted unanimously to work with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission to further develop the proposed map.

The proposed changes won’t affect this November’s general election, which includes Board of Education seats, County Chief of Elections Doris White said.

Even though the geographic boundaries of the districts will likely change, most Decatur County voters can still expect to vote at the same place they do currently, White said.