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Redistricted map approved

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The joint Dougherty County Commission/School Board redistricting committee on Thursday voted unanimously to present a redrawn district map to their respective bodies next week.

By a 4-0 vote, (committee members Jack Stone and David Maschke were absent) the committee recommended the redrawn districts with no changes.

The redrawn map had been presented to voters in a series of three public meetings last week.

The only serious opposition to the new districts has come from community activist William Wright, who has accused the joint commission of moving too quickly and diluting black voter strength.

Wright wants to change the structure of the commission and school board, eliminating the at-large position to create at least seven districts and possibly as many as 11.

"I don't think we are moving too fast," committee chairman James Bush said during discussion. "Personally, before going to 10, 20 or five districts, I'd like to know how the people in my district felt about it. I don't see how 11 people can be more effective than five or seven."

Committee member Gloria Gaines then added, "I think we should move forward with the same structure we have now. We can always consider Mr. Wright's proposal at any time."

The recommended map will be presented before the full commission at a called meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday followed by a presentation to the full school board at a called meeting at noon.

Both bodies will then consider how best to accept public input and will vote on the new map in approximately two weeks.

At that point, if the proposed map is approved by school board and commission, it will then be given to state Rep. Winfred Dukes to present to the Georgia House during a called special session in Atlanta on Aug. 15.

If passed by the House, the map will go before the U.S. Justice Department for final approval.

If all goes well, the new district lines could be in place in time for the 2012 elections.

On the proposed new map, District 1 would lose a chunk of population to District 5, which would then lose a geographic slice to District 2.

District 3 would pick up a population block from District 4. District 6's lines would remain relatively intact.