FULTON COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Elected officials say politics and chaos have kept Fulton County from proposing a fair redistricting map by the state deadline. Now, there’s a rush to get lawmakers to push a proposed map through the process to avoid legal issues.
Less than 90 days away from the state’s primary elections, State Representative Mesha Mainor (D-56th Dist., Atlanta) says the Fulton County Commission has failed to propose a fair redistricting map.READ MORE: Environmental group's annual sunscreen guide released
“The impact of this failure would force the citizens of Georgia to vote on 2010 census data until 2024,” Mainor said. She said that maps the commission initially proposed in January had several issues. As a result, the state reapportionment office rejected them.
This comes as Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties face their own redistricting battles.
“In the 11th hour, the Fulton County Commission submitted a map with a deviation of almost 6%,” she said.
Mainor says the maps also disenfranchised voters by splitting up a community between three commissioners. Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman says she was initially left out of the process.READ MORE: Wingstop could soon raise its own chickens
“This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing; this is a one-man, one-vote thing,” said Abdur-Rahman.
Mainor submitted a revised bipartisan map under House Bill 1199 last Thursday. She said she planned to withdraw the map if Fulton met the February 7 submission deadline, but it didn’t. Mainor says she has received threats as a result of her efforts.
“The smear campaign against Representative Mainor must stop. The political terrorist tactics against Commissioner Khadijah must stop,” said Al Bartell, a public engagement stakeholder with Street Groomers. Bartell is also an Independent candidate for the governor’s office.
A Fulton County spokesperson later responded to the accusations, saying allegations that the county missed the state’s map submission deadline are inaccurate. In response to claims the county’s initial map splits neighborhoods in half, the county spokesperson said:
“The map submitted by Fulton County retained all sitting commissioners in their respective districts.
“In all map scenarios, voters will have the same number of elected commissioners (one district, one at-large) ensuring that each Fulton County voter maintains their current level of representation
“During a meeting in November, at the beginning of the meeting, staff had an incorrect home address for Commissioner Abdur-Rahman. They corrected the address immediately during the meeting and it has remained corrected.
“Throughout this process, we have remained in constant communication with the Chairman of Fulton County’s House delegation and included him in all correspondence with the Reapportionment office.”
Fulton County officials also provided this timeline of recent activity:
- January 18 – Published notice of local legislation
- January 19 – Public Hearing / Board of Commissioners unanimously approves recommended map
- January 20 – Recommended map submitted to Reapportionment Office for technical review; and to Delegation for information
- January 21 – Recommend map discussed with delegation
- January 28 – Reapportionment office Provides technical feedback; our office requests that they create a map to correct any issues they have identified
- January 31 – Updated draft map provided by Reapportionment office; additional issues corrected
- February 1 – Updated draft map provided to Fulton County Board of Commissioners
HB 1199 received a first reading under the Gold Dome on February 7, and a second reading is expected on Thursday.