Coweta now has 4 House districtsBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Georgia’s new House and Senate districts received final approval from the U.S. Justice Department in December, but voter registration records won’t be updated until local district maps are approved — and voters likely won’t get new precinct cards until June.
The next election for Coweta voters is the general election primary on July 31.
Qualifying for the local and state offices that are up for election this year will be held at the end of May — before new precinct cards are sent out.
The District 71 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives will be open this year, as state Rep. Billy Horne, R-Sharpsburg, has announced he does not intend to seek reelection.
One candidate for Horne’s seat has already announced — current Coweta State Court Solicitor General Robert Stokely.
Coweta Voter Registrar Joan Hamilton said she doesn’t know when exactly in June the new precinct cards will be ready. “We are working on them,” she said.
“I’m not giving out any definite information until after our county lines have been approved by Justice,” Hamilton said. “If somebody has a question I can try to answer it,” she said. But to “know it is exactly the right information is just kind of waiting until we finish everything and are ready to send out our notices in June.”
For those considering running for office, Coweta Elections Superintendent Jane Scoggins has copies of the district maps.
“There are some precincts I know for sure,” Scoggins said. For others, things are not so clear. Scoggins said she has been getting a lot of calls about the issue lately.
Scoggins is hoping to have everything together by April 20 or by May 1 at the latest.
Before redistricting, necessitated by the 2010 Census, Coweta was divided between two House districts — 70 and 71. Because of population growth, those two districts shrank, and Coweta will now be represented by four different state House members.
The biggest changes are in south Coweta. The southwest portion of the county, as well as some areas around downtown Newnan, will now be part of District 132, which is currently represented by Democrat Carl Von Epps of LaGrange. The new District 132 includes the Grantville, Smokey Road, Central, and Pine Road voting precincts.
And the extreme southeast corner of Coweta, including Senoia and Haralson, becomes part of District 72, represented by Republican Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City.
In addition to northwestern Coweta and most of the city of Newnan, District 70, currently represented by Lynn Smith, R-Newnan, includes western Carroll County. District 71, which covers most of the eastern half of Coweta, also includes a sliver of Fayette County.
There were also changes to Senate District 28, and U.S. House District 3, but both districts still contain all of Coweta County.
Senate District 28, currently represented by Mike Crane, continues to include all of Coweta and Heard counties, and the northern part of Troup County. The new district includes a smaller portion of Carroll County but picks up the southwestern corner of Fulton County.
U.S. House District 3, currently represented by Republican Lynn Westmoreland, who lives near Grantville, still contains all of Coweta, Meriwether, Heard, Troup, Pike, Lamar, Upson, Spalding and Harris counties.
It also covers the northern part of Muscogee County, which hasn’t changed.
The current district covered the southern half of Carroll County and western half of Douglas County, as well as all of Fayette County. The new district covers all of Carroll, none of Douglas, and the southern two-thirds of Fayette County.
Westmoreland also loses a portion of Henry County, which is now split among three districts instead of two.
Cowetans who live near district lines and want to determine which district they are in can view maps for the House, Senate, and U.S. House at http://www.legis.ga.gov/Joint/reapportionment/en-US/default.aspx .