Preparing to redraw Augusta’s political battle lines

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta is under a much tighter window now than it was ten years ago to redraw its political maps because of the pandemic census numbers coming later while elections come earlier, so this committee must work quickly. 

Looking around at where Augusta is growing its clear even before the census data is in, Augusta political lines will be changing.

“We’ll have to look at areas of growth and areas where there’s been a decline in growth and apportion voters apportioned,” said Elections Director Lynn Bailey 

Bailey says what worked well before is setting up an ad-hoc redistricting committee with four members each from the commission school board and general assembly.

The reason it’s important to have those three bodies at the table is because at the end of the day we want the commission and school board lines to mirror each other. It’s easier to manage,” said Bailey. 

Commissioners got into the act with nominations Tuesday. The first three appointments were Commissioners Sias, Hasan and Frantom, but there was fight for the fourth nomination.  

“I nominate the commissioner from the third, Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight,” said Mayor Hardie Davis 

Thank you mister mayor,” said Commissioner Mcknight.   

“I hate to jump in here, but I heard Commissioner Sias in his final comments nominate me for the committee,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.

In the end it was commissioner Johnson who was nominated.

“You know the mayor picked me then you know it was changed around. I just felt it would be nice to have the opportunity to serve,” said Commissioner McKnight.

Bailey says whatever the make-up of the committee, it should be in place before the census data is available this fall.  

Now these districts are going to change because of the census numbers, but one of the guiding principles for the committee is not to redraw the map and put two incumbents in the same district.

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