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Feds approve commission district map; will be in effect for primary, officials say
by staff reports
June 20, 2012 05:08 PM | 674 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The chief of the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has told the Douglas County Board of Commissioners the board's redistricting map submitted March 22 has been pre-cleared without any changes, county officials announced today.

The new district map will be in effect for the July 31 primaries.

This pre-cleared status means the map meets all requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act, officials said in a prepared release.

The Board of Commissioners approved the map by a majority vote last autumn. The Georgia General Assembly and Gov. Nathan Deal approved it earlier this year. This is the required procedure for use of this map and these districts for county elections until the 2020 Census, officials said.

Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan said, “we are pleased that the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has pre-cleared our submitted map without any changes.

"We worked hard -- and across political party lines -- to draw district lines that were logical, and kept neighbors and neighborhoods together.”

The redrawing of the commission district map is required after the results of every decennial Census are revealed.

Counties throughout the nation are required to adjust district boundaries to reflect population changes.

The U.S. Department of Justice is required to review voting map changes in Georgia because it is a Section 5 Covered Jurisdiction under the Voting Rights Act because of past racial discrimination.

The 2012 census population for Douglas County was 132,400. The perfect division of the population into the four Commission districts would be 33,100.

However, strictly and blindly dividing the county into four districts could divide neighborhoods, split precincts, and become confusing, officials said.

All four Commission districts in the new map have less than 2.9 percent difference in population from the others, well below the Federal maximum requirement of 5 percent deviation, officials said.

Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act essentially require that, if a district can be drawn using contiguous neighborhoods and communities that have a majority of minority residents, then a district must be drawn so that a minority candidate has a reasonable chance to be elected based on the percentage of population, county officials said.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office will be mailing new precinct information cards to all Douglas County registered voters in July. The new cards will give all voters their new information concerning Congressional, state Senate, state representative, commission, school board, and, if applicable, City Council districts. No polling place locations were changed, officials said.

The new map is posted on the county web site, www.celebratedouglascounty.com.
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