The Liberty County Board of Elections soon will mail out new voter registration cards to those voters affected by Hinesville’s recent redistricting plan, according to Elections Supervisor Ella Golden.
The new cards will help everyone concerned about what voting district they fall into since the city of Hinesville’s redistricting plan now has received preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice, Golden said. The cards will confirm the voter’s registration and assignment to the new district and will direct the voter to the correct polling station, she said.
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, who also is a candidate for re-election, admitted that some candidates and voters have expressed concern that the redistricting plan could affect next month’s elections. District 5 candidate John Spradley even questioned why the redistricting was done during an election period.
“The redistricting, which was based on information from the 2010 Census, was necessary to address a population imbalance between districts,” Thomas explained. “For example, one district had a population of 8,000 while another district had a population of 4,000. We had to redraw the lines to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
“Our redistricting plan was submitted to the Department of Justice in August, and we received preclearance from them last Monday (Oct. 17). The elections board agreed to use the new district lines in its voter registration lists prior to the city receiving preclearance from the Department of Justice.”
According to Anna Phillips, Hinesville Graphic Information Systems department manager, the city didn’t begin receiving census data until the spring of this year.
Thomas said those voters still unsure about which polling station to report to should call the elections board at 876-3310.
In a related matter, Thomas said District 4 City Council candidate Douglas Burgess Jr. would not be eligible to run for office in the Nov. 8 elections. However, because Burgess had appealed the county elections board’s September decision that he didn’t meet residency requirements, his name was left on the ballot.
Golden explained that signs will be posted throughout the District 4 polling station advising voters about Burgess’ ineligible status pending his appeal with the Georgia Superior Court.