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Residents speak out on Richmond County redistricting plans

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 11:28 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - People got another chance Monday night to weigh in on the redistricting plans for Richmond County. We’ve told you about these meetings over the past few weeks.

This is a draft of the new map city leaders and the public were looking at:

Proposed Richmond County redistricting map.
Proposed Richmond County redistricting map.(WRDW)

And not everyone is happy about the changes. The Summerville neighborhood could split into three different districts. Some people who’ve seen this version of the map don’t like it. The redistricting committee is holding these meetings to get feedback before the maps are finalized.

Tara Conway lives in the Summerville neighborhood and she does not like this plan.

“It doesn’t work well. You can’t have three different commissioners for your neighborhood. You need one commissioner that goes and fights,” said Conway.

She doesn’t like this proposal because it cuts a line right down the middle of many residential streets. That means you could have one commissioner, but your neighbor across the street has someone completely different.

“I’m getting calls and responses and I don’t blame ‘em, I don’t blame ‘em one bit,” said Augusta Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight, District 3.

McKnight represents most of the Summerville neighborhood now.

(WRDW)

The black lines show how the new plan would split the neighborhood. She went to the redistricting committee’s meeting where people shared their opinions.

“It’s up to our local redistricting to hear the folks here in Augusta, and let’s do something about it,” said Lynn Bailey.

Bailey with the Richmond County Board of Elections says this map is a draft and the state redistricting office in Atlanta drew it. It’s now up to the local committee to make changes.

“At the end of the day, the primary factor is getting the districts balanced in number so you have equal representation amongst all the districts,” she said.

It’s a principle followed across the country as political districts are redrawn after every census to ensure that each one has the same population as the other ones as its type.

Conway went to the meeting and she says she’ll go to others because she doesn’t want her neighborhood broken up.

“If we lose and get divided up even further, then we lose our voice as Summerville residents and we don’t need to lose that, no neighborhood needs to lose their voice,” she said.

There will be three more redistricting meetings. The next is Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Diamond Lakes Elementary School.

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