Augusta’s ad hoc redistricting committee meets for the first time Tuesday to elect officers and set criteria to use as the city redraws its commission and school board lines.
Former state reapportionment director Linda Meggers, now working as a consultant assisting numerous Georgia municipalities with the process, is scheduled to give a redistricting presentation, although she hasn’t been officially hired to redraw the city’s lines.
“The main thing we have is a population shift,” said Augusta District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham, a member of the committee.
Census figures from 2010 indicate several Augusta commission districts, which currently coincide with Richmond County Board of Education districts, likely have fallen significantly below the ideal eighth of the population they should contain.
According to a presentation Meggers gave to Georgia Municipal Association in the spring, there cannot be greater than 10 percent deviation in population from the “ideal district size.” The new districts cannot dilute minority representation and under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, must be cleared in advance by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Augusta Commission’s appointees on the committee include District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason, District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett, Super District 10 Commissioner Grady Smith and Brigham.
Serving for the board of education are District 1 representative Marion Barnes, District 6 member Jack Padgett, District 7 member Frank Dolan and Super District 9 representative Venus Cain.
Legislators serving on the committee are Augusta Sen. Hardie Davis and Reps. Barbara Sims, Quincy Murphy and Wayne Howard.