ICYMI: Albany Herald – House 151 snafu impacts voters
Albany Herald (4/9/2016) – CARLTON FLETCHER: House 151 snafu impacts voters
Williams lives on Shady Glen Lane in west-central Albany, on the cusp between House Districts 151 and 154. He said at a candidates’ forum Thursday night that he’s voted in HD 151 in each of the past three election cycles since redistricting based on the 2010 census was completed, which he said contradicts Greene’s contention that new district lines pushed him into HD 154. That district is represented by Winfred Dukes.
“I voted in (district) 151 in 2010, 2012 and 2014,” Williams told a large gathering at the Albany Civil Rights Institute. “Now, out of the blue, they’re saying I don’t live in 151, that I live in 154. All of a sudden — after I qualified to run against the Republican incumbent in 151 — they’re saying things have changed on one street in the city.”
…In response to a story about the HD 151 snafu that first appeared on the albanyherald.com website Thursday afternoon, Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson said the secretary of state’s office relied on “faulty data” in dealing with the issue.
…“It took a candidate running for office to bring this issue to light — four years late — so how many other Georgians are voting in the wrong district?…
House Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley, a Columbus Democrat, said of the situation, “James Williams qualified in good faith for office in the district where he votes and lives, based on information provided to him by the secretary of state. He is a retired law enforcement officer with deep ties in several of the counties that comprise this district. Now he may be deprived of the right to run to represent his community, and the voters in House District 151 may be deprived of the right to select a candidate of their choice.
“The secretary of state is responsible for maintaining the voter files — blaming anyone else is just an admission he is not doing his job. This is an issue of basic fairness — he broke it and now he needs to fix it.”
The real victims in all of this are the voters in HD 151. Instead of researching where candidates who might represent them in Atlanta stand on key issues, they’re left to wonder if politicians miles away with agendas that have little to do with them are using their rights as pawns in a chess game that has no winners, only losers.