In an order issued today, U.S. District Judge J. Randal Hall declined to incorporate the changes requested by parties in the federal lawsuit filed after local officials failed to agree on a district plan. He also set qualifying to begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 6 and end at noon Aug. 8 for candidates running for commissioners and Board of Education seats.
The Augusta Commission and Richmond County school board district plan created by Hall few weeks ago will stand for 2012 commission and school board elections on November 6.
Jurisdictions around the state approved new voting districts reflective of the 2010 census, but Augusta legislators disagreed along party lines - democrats and republicans - with several options presented, leaving Augusta in the position of holding five commission and five school board elections this year using existing districts unless the court intervenes first.
Because of population shifts, the existing districts vary widely in size. District 1, for example, is about 9,000 residents smaller than District 3. Both districts’ commission posts are coming open this year.
The court decision is one of many cases nationwide when a judge or the Department of Justice must intervene in the electoral process due to the vicious animosity of politicians to do their work. Since the General Election of 2000 when the US Supreme Court decided the presidential election giving us George W. Bush, the judicial brunch of government pretty much become the king maker in detriment of the electoral process and the republic.