Governor signs legislation on Newnan redistricting

By JOHN A. WINTERS
john@newnan.com
Gov. Nathan Deal has signed House Bill 72, which will set up new city council districts and voting procedures for Newnan.
Mayor Keith Brady announced the signing during Tuesday’s Newnan City Council meeting, saying the governor signed it earlier in the day.
“We now will get the package together and send it off to the (federal) Department of Justice,” the mayor said.
The Justice Department has to approve the plan, and has a 60-day review period that will start once it gets all documentation.
The city’s plan calls for splitting the city into three large districts, with voters electing two council members from within those districts who would represent their respective district. The mayor would be elected citywide.
The plan calls for candidates to run for one of two specific seats in each district, rather than the top two-vote-getters winning.
Because of the way elections are currently set up, if the plan is approved, the city will have one additional council member for two years, and one council member will become a citywide representative.

Here’s how it works out:

District 1: Post A will be represented by Clayton Hicks. Post B is open and an election for a two-year term will be held in 2013. Thereafter, both those seats will be up for re-election in 2015 for four-year terms.

District 2: Post A will be represented by Rhodes Shell. Post B by Ray DuBose. Both seats are up for re-election in 2013 and are for four-year terms.

District 3: Post A will be represented by George Alexander. Post B by Cynthia Jenkins. The third council member in that new district, Bob Coggin, will become the at-large representative for the entire city until the next election for those seats in 2015. That’s because otherwise District 3 would have three council members.

Because of dramatic population shifts and annexations, one district east of Interstate 85 represented by Hicks now has about half the population. The city is required to redistrict every 10 years to ensure adequate representation.

The next city elections, including the mayoral race, will be held later this year. Newnan members will be seated in January 2014.



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