Plaintiffs in Albany voting maps fiasco growing -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Plaintiffs in Albany voting maps fiasco growing

November 5, 2003

Albany - The fight over Albany voting lines continues. Now, some voters in Ward 4 want to become interveners in the suit, saying several of the proposed redistricting maps unfairly divide longtime neighborhoods. But, will more plaintiffs mean more delays?

What is already a confusing lawsuit over voting districts may became more bogged down. Wednesday, Judge Louis Sands reopened the field to prospective plaintiffs. Laughlin McDonald represents the original lawsuit filers, the ACLU and William Wright. He worries that allowing more people to intervene in the case against the City may delay the elections even longer.

"At some time you must cut it off," said McDonald. "But, I do understand that Judge Sands wants to allow any concerned citizen to have a say in the voting districts."

Any person or group has until next Wednesday to submit a reapportionment plan to the court, but that doesn't mean Judge Sands will add their name to the suit. Judge Sands also set a November 14th court date to hear testimony in the case. But, only the City plans to bring forth witnesses.

"We plan to put commissioners Bob Langstaff, Bo Dorough, and Arthur Williams, as well as Elections Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher on the stand," said City Attorney C. Nathan Davis.

"We plan to hand over a written affidavit from our client William Wright, but we'll only cross examine witnesses if we feel it's necessary," said McDonald.

Two maps are already on the table - one by the ACLU and another by Mayoral Candidate Dr. Willie Adams. Adams' map was drawn up by State redistricting expert Linda Meggers. "Our map modifies the Meggers' map," said McDonald. "The original map placed two incumbent Commissioners in the same Ward, and we changed that."

The map candidate Jo Ann Pope hopes the Judge will consider is a plan the Justice Department has already rejected in the past because it didn't fairly represent the number of black voters in Ward 4. The Judge will rule on Monday if Pope will be allowed to intervene in the case.

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