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Clarke Board of Elections starts work on new commission maps

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ACC
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The Clarke County Board of Elections meets today to work on new maps for commission districts, as a tight deadline looms to produce new proposed maps for ACC’s ten commission districts. The process was already foreshortened when the US Census Bureau was later than expected in releasing the data that local and state governments need to start redistricting. Then, ACC commissioners voted just last week to put the Board of Elections in charge of drawing those new lines.

State lawmakers, who have the final say, are expected to begin voting on local maps in January, and the ACC Commission is asking for a suggested map from the Board of Elections by November 11.

Redistricting, even on the local level, is often a complex and contentious process. Athens-Clarke County’s population has grown, but not evenly across the existing districts. For example, districts 2 and 4 saw significant population growth, driven in part by an explosion of student-oriented apartments, while district 7 actually lost some of its population. The task before the Board of Elections is to draw new districts that balance out that uneven population growth while still protecting communities of interest and, ideally, keeping as many residents as possible in their current districts.

But in the end, the map produced by the Board of Elections and approved by the Mayor and Commission may not matter. It’s up to the state legislature to actually approve local maps, and the five members of ACC’s state legislative delegation – or for that matter any state legislator – could choose to introduce their own plan instead of the one produced locally.

The 4:30 pm work session is open to the public, but there will be no opportunity for public comment.

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