Will Supreme Court Ruling Make Augusta City Elections Even Hotter

Will Supreme Court Ruling Make Augusta City Elections Even Hotter (Image 1)

Elections Director Lynn Bailey has worked in the office for 35 years, and it's always been this way,get Justice Department approval for changes involving voting or elections.   

“Anything out of the ordinary we would send up to Washington to receive pre-clearance most certainly it would have included any polling place relocation any precinct realignment,” said Bailey.

But after the Supreme Court ruling election changes will no longer require the OK of the Justice Department.

“I don't think we've needed it for years you can look at our voting patterns I think everybody who wants to vote has the opportunity to vote,” says State Representative Barbara Sims.

But many in Augusta do not agree with Representative Sims opinion.

“While we respect one's opinion we do not agree with her opinion we'll not ever agree with her opinion based on what's been presented,” says Dr. Charles Smith President of the Augusta Chapter of the NAACP.

Last December this was presented to Augusta officials a Justice Department objection to a state law changing Augusta's city elections from November to July.

The Justice Department called it an effort to dilute minority voting participation.

Sims authored the bill and disagreed with the objection.

What we wanted to know does the Supreme Court ruling open the door to July city elections?

“We'll have to wait and see I wish I knew the answer to that,” said Sims “but I don't.”

Does it need to be in July?”

“I think it should everybody else who's consolidated is in July except Augusta,” said Sims saying her bill was designed to clarify when the consolidated governments in Georgia hold their municipal elections.

“Why should you suppress an opportunity for an individual to exercise the most precious fundamental right you can have the right to vote,” argued Smith.

Bailey knows how the Supreme Court voted but she doesn't know the impact on the bill moving Augusta's elections to July.

“The last official word we have is the same as everyone else has that our elections would remain in November,” says Bailey

Bailey says it likely the Board of Elections would have been sending paper work to Washington later this year asking for approval to change precinct lines and to consolidate polling places, with the Supreme Court decision that  will not be needed.

As well as getting pre-clearance on a Sunday Sales election for Hephzibah scheduled for November 5th.

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