Court proposes new map for district voting

A new district map to implement Fayette County’s new district voting format has been proposed by U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten.

A special called meeting of the Fayette County Commission slated for today at 4 p.m. to discuss the map in executive session has been POSTPONED due to weather and rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

The map will delineate the boundary lines for five geographic districts in the county, each of which will be tied to a specific seat on both the Fayette County Commission and the Fayette County Board of Education. A copy of the map is not yet publicly available because instead of posting it on the district court’s website, Batten had the files emailed to counsel for both parties, according to his order.

A hearing on the proposed map has been set for Tuesday, Feb. 18, as Judge Batten has not ordered the court’s version of the map as the law of the land.

Under district voting, Fayette residents will no longer be able to vote for all five members of each governing body. Instead they will only be able to vote for the geographic post corresponding with where they live.

Last year Batten agreed with plaintiffs including the Fayette County NAACP, who argued that the at-large voting system precluded black candidates from being elected to office. The remedy is to enact district voting and draw a special majority-minority district to essentially guarantee that one district will elect a black candidate.

The majority-minority district will likely stretch from north Fayetteville to the north and east, stretching toward Tyrone.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking as the qualifying period for local offices starts less than two weeks later on Monday, March 3.

Up for election this year are the county commission Post 5 seat currently held by Allen McCarty and the county commission post 4 seat currently held by Steve Brown. Also up for election are the board of education post 4 seat held by Bob Todd and the board of education post 5 seat held by Leonard Presberg.