Local redistricting hangs in balance of Ga. Capitol struggle

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 11:20 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Pressure continues to build over Richmond County’s redistricting maps. Two bills will head to the house floor in Atlanta that would change the district lines for Augusta, Richmond County.

However, these are not the lines Augusta leaders approved.

“We’re frustrated with the process, we’re frustrated with the way things have gone, and we wanted to express our feelings on that,” said state Rep. Henry “Wayne” Howard.

Howard, along with other Democratic members of the Richmond County legislative delegation, held a news conference on Monday in protest of locally drawn maps being overruled by state leaders.

Democratic state Sen. Harold Jones II said: “The democratic process is not being followed. You know, we had an Ad Hoc committee, we had the commission, board of education, that voted on these particular maps, and they then gave us these maps to bring up, basically back up to the Capitol to be voted on.”

It’s an effort that started back in July of 2021. Local efforts say they are being bulldozed by the state’s political majority.

Darlene Taylor, chairman of House Committee on Governmental Affairs, said: “The ‘ayes’ have it, your bill passes.”

This similar process also happened in Gwinnett and Cobb counties, Democrats in the state, calling it classic gerrymandering.

Jones says the bill will now go to the full house floor to be considered, and if approved again, it will then make its way to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature.

Augusta resident Betty Reece said: “Please, please do not diminish our Black and brown votes. We have voices. We should be allowed to vote in the way that we feel best suits our communities.”

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