DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voices support for keeping super districtsDeKalb County Government Manuel J. Maloof Center in downtown Decatur. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Decatur, GA — As the DeKalb County Commission and School Board districts are being redrawn, the commissioners at their Feb. 9 meeting voiced their support for the maps drawn by the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office.
Those maps keep two super districts and five commission districts.
The maps drawn by the LCRO reflect minimal changes to the maps the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved earlier this year. Presiding Officer Robert Patrick previously said that the technical changes from the LCRO are relatively minimal and maintain the cores of the districts from the current maps and those the county submitted.
To view the maps approved by the Board of Commissioners, click here.
To view the LCRO maps, click here.
The DeKalb House delegation has not drawn their version of the maps yet and is holding public hearings this week to gather community input. Meanwhile, state Sen. Emanuel Jones (SD-10) has released his version of the county commission districts that shifts to seven single-member districts and eliminates the two super districts.
If the proposal was approved by the state legislature, it would be up to DeKalb County residents to approve the change in a referendum, state Rep. Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain) said in a statement after contacting the General Assembly Office of Legislative Counsel.
The map the districts the county approved had an overall difference between the five districts was 5.44% in terms of population. Patrick said the districts were fairly similar concerning population. The overall difference between the two super districts was 0.07%
The Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office changed the county’s maps slightly. The office found several inconsistencies in the five-district and super district maps.
“County voting precincts were split for smaller numbers of people that can create a voter anonymity issue,” BOC Presiding Officer Robert Patrick said during a public hearing with the DeKalb House delegation. “Precincts split for zero population would still require that the county create a ballot combo even if there were no people living in that area. There were approximately 13 precincts split between districts and places where the geography jumped back and forth between sides of the road or other features.”
After the LCRO changed all seven districts, only two voting precincts were divided, and those are along the lines that are currently divided. The deviation, which is the variation between populations of each district, was brought down to under 2%, Commissioner Jeff Rader said during the Feb. 9 Board of Commissioners meeting.
“Other themes in that map were the unification of municipalities under a single commission district designation to be able to facilitate the work between the commission and the municipalities, and then, of course, adjustments based upon population,” Rader said. “This action simply confirms the commission’s support for those maps and themes in which they were redrawn, and provides that input to the DeKalb House and Senate delegation.”
The General Assembly ultimately has the final decision and responsibility to draw the districts for the Board of Commissioners and School Board.
“What we are now recommending is not binding upon the General Assembly, but we believe it is a good point of departure and was developed in good faith by this board, by our GIS department, as confirmed by the LCRO out of the state General Assembly,” Rader said.
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