Will Albanians go to the polls November Fourth? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will Albanians go to the polls November Fourth?

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September 26, 2003

Albany-- A lawsuit has been filed to block the elections, until new city voting districts are drawn. A Judge will decide when you will vote for your Mayor and City Commissioners.

William Wright and four other Albany voters, represented by the A.C.L.U. filed the suit to stop the November 4th elections. They say the current district lines dilute minority voting strength. The suit asks a judge to halt city elections until a new district map is in place. Wright said "You have a lot of poor people in some wards who do not have as many votes as others in more affluent wards."

The current city districts were drawn in 1993. But the flood of 1994 brought big changes to the population in South Albany.

For two years City Commissioners have juggled redistricting plans. One was submitted to the Justice Department and rejected. Another proposal was submitted last year, and the Justice Department wanted more information. Commissioners then dropped the proposal.

Wright said "Nothing is going to happen if elections are not held. The city is not going to cease it's operations. It will business as usual."

Absentee ballots have been printed, which cost $800. If the election is postponed, it will be much more expensive for the taxpayers.

Elections Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher said "There is a lot of money and a lot of time invested already in it. We've developed the touch screen machine program already, and had the ballots, absentee and provisional, printed already. So we are pretty far along already. Money has already been expended."

One-hundred-fifty-five poll workers have been assigned and are being trained for the November 4th election. Now a federal judge will decide if you will get a chance to cast your vote, or wait until new districts are approved.

The Mayor of Albany and commission seats in Wards one, four, and six are on the ballot. The next planned election would be March 3rd, the Presidential Primary.

posted at 5:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com