News12 at 6o'clock/ Oct. 24, 2013
Augusta,Ga (WRDW)---"We are not going to be hoodwinked in the process. This is a mechanism to suppress minority participation," said Augusta NAACP President Dr. Charles Smith.
Smith is referring to a letter sent from the state Attorney General's Office to local Senator Jesse Stone. It states municipal elections for consolidated governments can be held at the same time as other federal and state primaries. It means the races for school board, Augusta mayor and commissioners could be moved to May or July.
"This is a tactic to supress votes. They want to turn back the clock and send us back 100 years. We are not going back, We shall not be moved," said Dr. Smith.
"I simply call this a political stunt by some to try and get a desired result," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.
Polling locations could change as well. The Board of Elections plans to reduce the number of precincts from 50 to 44. In exchange, they'll also add a site for advanced voting.
"We just want everything being done to be fair and equal," said Dr. Smith.
The fear is that the since numbers show voter turnout is low for the primaries that moving the election could help one party over another.
"There was concern on two consolidations. St. John's Towers and Peabody Apartments were brought up. Those sites would be closed and voters will go to surrounding precincts," said Board of Elections Supervisor Lynn Bailey.
You can also let your voice be heard by mail or going to city's website and leaving a comment on the 2013 precinct plans. The time for the mayor's race could be determined by State leaders in Atlanta.