Athens Dems blast GOP-drawn County Commission district map

Commissioners failed to unanimously endorse lines drawn by County staff

Athens Democrats are protesting the proposed Athens-Clarke County Commission redistricting map drawn by members of the Athens area legislative delegation. The map, if approved by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp, would move Commissioners Melissa Link, Tim Denson, and Russell Edwards into districts in which they could not run for new terms in elections that will be held in May.

From the Athens-Clarke Co Democratic Committee…

On January 6, the anniversary of the attempted coup in Washington D.C., new Athens County Commission District maps were proposed by local Republican state legislators that would draw 6 out of 10 Commissioners into districts with each other and result in 3 progressive Commissioners ousted from the Commission and blocked from reelection. Three ACC Commissioners, Mike Hamby, Allison Wright, and Ovita Thornton, blocked the the locally created maps and worked to allow the Republican legislators to draw these maps and further the disenfranchisement of voters in Athens-Clarke County.

If the GOP map is signed into law, the following 3 Commissioners will be drawn out of their district and into an even-numbered district so that they cannot run for election this cycle:

D5 Commissioner Tim Denson (Current chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democrats)

D7 Commissioner Russell Edwards (Past-Chair of the Athens-Clarke County Democrats)

D3 Commissioner Melissa Link

These proposed maps will affect nearly all Athenians if adopted. 2 out of every 3 residential addresses in Athens would be moved into a new Commission district. Many individuals who resided in a district that hadn’t voted for a Commissioner for 4 years will be forced to wait another 2 years before being given the privilege to vote for a Commissioner again.

The biggest damage would likely come to East Athens. The historic black neighborhood would be split right down the middle into multiple districts by these maps, diluting the East Athens voting presence. 7 of the 10 districts proposed by the Republican delegation would dilute the black population when compared to the maps that ACC drew and submitted to the state.

At the same time, Allison Wright’s new district would become 78% white and Mike Hamby’s new district would become 77% white, by far the least diverse of any existing or proposed districts.

The Republican local legislators, exclusively straight, white men, dare to say that these new maps were drawn to create more diversity on the Athens-Clarke County Commission. Of course, currently the Athens-Clarke County Commission is the most diverse it has ever been with regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This clear attack on our democratic process in Athens, Georgia cannot stand. Legal action is being prepared for if these maps move forward as they are but we need Athens residents to contact our state legislators today!

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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