Digging Deeper: Reapportionment in south Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Reapportionment in south Georgia

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A state legislative committee spent two hours in Albany Monday night at Albany State University, getting Albany's input on re-districting.

State lawmakers are working to carve new Congressional and state legislative district lines to match new census numbers. Because south Georgia lost population, it will also lose representation. @

The redistricting process is complicated, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get involved. With south Georgia losing population in 10 of 14, counties redistricting means a loss in representation.

"We're going to die on the vine, we're looking at redistricting now, we're going to lose representation in both the house and the senate, while north Georgia and east Georgia are going to gain which means all of the power is flowing away from south Georgia," said Gloria Gaines, Dougherty County Commissioner.

Early numbers indicated as many as 8,500 people would be added to each of the 180 House Districts in Georgia, and some worry those lines will separate neighborhoods along political boundaries.

"They shouldn't be separated because of how they vote, they should be held together based on the community and the community's interest rather than the interest of political parties," said William Perry, Common Cause Georgia Exec. Director.

Which is why groups are hoping the community will get involved. It's all because of the one man, one vote theory, that says each district whether it's city or Congressional representation must be equal.

"It takes a lot more votes to win that district versus the district with less people which means that the district with less people in essence have more power for their one vote around the commission table than the district who has a whole lot more people," said Wes Smith, Albany Assistant City Manager.

Congressional lines are tighter, but cities and counties get a five percent leeway among districts. Both the city and county have started into the process. The city faces an uphill battle trying redraw the lines in northwest Albany where population has grown.

"Equality is the absolute focus, of course obviously in a community like ours the racial breakups and things are important, that we need to be fair," said Smith.

While the process is underway, it won't be complete by the fall elections and maybe not even the spring, with U.S. Justice Department approval needed before the maps are finalized.

Dougherty County and the school board will work together to redraw one map used by both. The school board has already appointed three member to serve on the committee and the county is working to do the same.

The city has also begun work to redraw their lines and will work steadily through the process.

If you didn't attend Monday's meeting but want to make your voice heard, you can submit your concerns on the Reapportionment Committee's web site. You can find a link at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx.

A special session will be held August 15th to tackle redistricting.

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