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Dept. of Justice Delays Macon-Bibb Elections Slated for July

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By NewsCentral Staff

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Updated: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 12:26:31 EST

MACON, Ga. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Justice has postponed elections for the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government. Bibb County Attorney Virgil Adams said Tuesday that a letter from federal officials requires the county's legislative delegation to respond within 60 days to a list of questions related to the election that was scheduled for July 16. Officials say lawmakers are asked to explain how they decided on the election's timing and format, and explain proposed changes to school board elections. Authorities want answers on whether the summer election would have unequal racial impacts on voter participation. Georgia Secretary of State records show black voter turnout was significantly lower during July primaries than during the November 2012 elections. Georgia is one of nine states where elections are federally supervised to combat discriminatory voting practices. Democratic Mayoral Candidate Joe Allen tells WGXA he feels the local elections should be non-partisan but adds that he doesn't mind the delay in the election. "As long as the election comes in November...I'm in it to win it. They can do whatever they need to do as long as we have an election. I have my core support out there and I believe they'll stick with me. All this will do is give me additional time to give me additional support and that way we can move Macon and Bibb County Forward." -Joe Allen/Mayoral Candidate State Representative Allen Peake tells WGXA the delay in the vote could make the non-partisan issue moot, pending a vote by the Supreme Court. "The bigger picture is now we'll get to wait and see what the Supreme Court decides in the Shelby vs Holder Case this summer, probably by the end of June which is really the basis for Section 5 of the voting rights act probably being thrown out, if that's the case then all this is a moot point and we move forward with non-partisan elections at the earliest date we can have them." -Allen Peake/State Representative

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