The federal Justice Department has stepped in and postponed the consolidated government elections of Macon-Bibb County until the legislative delegation answers a list of questions on the reasoning and timing of holding the non-partisan questions. The action is based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which Georgia is one of nine states that has to get clearance by the federal Department of Justice to make sure that minorities are not being disenfranchised.
The whole uproar stemmed from the General Assembly’s action to make the City of Macon and Bibb County a consolidated government with non-partisan elections to be held this July. That upset a few Democrats down there, and they pressed the Justice Department to act. From WMAZ:
The Democrats argued that holding the election in July would reduce the impact of black voters who, statistics show, are less likely to vote in summer elections. They also argued for partisan elections, continuing the practice in the city of Macon and Bibb County.
The department has given the Bibb County legislative delegation 60 days to answer a list of questions and requests for materials related to the move to a nonpartisan July election.
If local legislators don’t submit that information by the deadline, the Justice Dept. said it would rule without any local input.
That 60-day deadline extends beyond the original scheduled date of the election, July 16.
There is a link to the letter from the Department of Justice on WMAZ’s website as well.