Nonpartisan elections moved a step closer Tuesday when the Georgia House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved them for several local offices. The House lawmakers approved four bills that included nonpartisan elections for the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County governments, the Bibb County Board of Elections and the Macon Water Authority. They also included the coroner, Probate Judge, Civil Court Judge and State Court Solicitor. The legislation now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for consideration. If he signs them into law, they’ll head to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will determine if the law complies with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Two weeks ago, the Senate approved nonpartisan elections for those positions. In both chambers, Republicans largely supported the measures while Democrats opposed them.
During Tuesday’s House debate, Macon Democrat Nikki Randall called the nonpartisan efforts a “bait and switch” tactic because the consolidation plan approved by voters last year stipulated there would be partisan elections for the mayor and commission members.
“When I went before the people and told them what this measure was, I did not lie to them,” Randall said. “It was in black and white, but now it’s been changed, and it was beyond my control.”
Rep. James Beverly, another Macon Democrat, also expressed disappointment in the change.
Beverly said the legislation that allowed a vote on consolidation would not have gotten unanimous approval for the legislative delegation if nonpartisan elections had been included.
“As a matter of fact, at one point, we said, ‘look we’re not going to be a part of this if it’s not a partisan election,'” Beverly said.
Full Article: House Approves Nonpartisan Elections | 13wmaz.com.