Albany election postponed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany election postponed

September 30, 2003

Albany- The absentee ballots have already been printed and candidates are well into their campaigns, but the election will have to wait.

"The plaintiffs are alleging that the districts are malapportioned, and nobody in their right mind who has followed this at all could argue with the fact that the districts are malapportioned," says Mayor Tommy Coleman.

Unable to design a map meeting justice department approval, the city was set to hold elections according to old district lines; lines some say dilute the minority voting strength.

The ACLU lawsuit asked that elections be stopped. "If we did attempt to go forward the ensuing lawsuits that would result would be damaging the city would certainly lose those lawsuits," Coleman explains.

Commissioners decided to ask the courts to redraw lines which could mean city elections won't be held until March. A victory plaintiffs say is bittersweet.

"The mere fact that it requires legal action to have people that are disenfranchised to have their rights finally looked upon is a sad day, because it never should have happened," says plaintiff William Wright.

The court's decision not only affects voters, but also qualified candidates for mayor and city commission who have already spent money on their campaigns.

"We feel energized and positive that we're going to win this race whether it's November or March. It gives us time to get more people registered and I think we're going to be fine," says mayoral candidate, Dr. Willie Adams.

Now, qualified candidates are just hoping time will be in their side.

Dougherty County elections supervisor, Carolyn Hatcher says the city will lose the $800.00 spent on absentee ballots if the election is held on the first Tuesday in March.

Posted at 4:20 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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