Board of Elections continues work on new commission districts
The Clarke County Board of Elections meets this afternoon, both to certify Tuesday’s election results and to continue working on new maps for ACC’s ten commission districts. Certifying Tuesday’s election results should be a fairly straightforward process. For most Clarke County residents, only one item was on the ballot. That measure, a $120 million continuation of the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, seems to have sailed through with around 80% of voters supporting it. There were also a handful of municipal races in Winterville for voters in that city.
Turnout in Clarke County was light; only about 8 percent of registered voters – some 6,200 people - cast a ballot.
After certifying Tuesday’s results, the Board of Elections will continue work on a much more complex task – redrawing the county’s commission districts. That job was assigned to the board last month by ACC Commissioners, who wanted to put as much daylight as possible between themselves and the creation of their new districts.
Currently, the Board of Elections is looking at four different map options, although some of those maps have several versions as well. But, board members are on a tight deadline. They have to send a final proposal to ACC Commissioners, who then have to vote on the proposed map to submit to the state legislature, and they want to have that vote in less than a week.
In the end, however, the frenzy of work from the Board of Elections to produce a map may not even matter. The final say on what map of local districts comes up for approval by the General Assembly is in the hands of state lawmakers, not local ones. That means that state legislators can draw and vote on their own map for Athens-Clarke County, and ignore the input of commissioners and residents.
The General Assembly is in a special session to deal with new state legislative and congressional district lines right now, and they are expected to take up local maps for Georgia’s 159 counties and countless municipalities in January.