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Monday, May 23, 2011 - 8:36am

Redistricting Meetings Tonight, Tomorrow in S.Ga.

State lawmakers will continue to seek public input this week on how to redraw the state's political boundaries. But people attending the redistricting meetings probably won't hear much from lawmakers.

Last week, residents of Athens, Augusta and Savannah who attended the meetings peppered legislators with questions.

Attendees wanted to know how lawmakers plan to draw the legislative maps, whether their cities and counties would be divided, and whether residents can review the maps before they are final.

But lawmakers at the meetings didn’t answer. Republican Representative Roger Lane of Darien says a lot of people want to speak, and the meetings only last two hours.

“So we really want them to have the opportunity – without us interrupting them with questions, or without us trying to answer questions – for them to just tell us the criteria, what their areas are like, how they feel their section of the state should be, what we should be looking at, as far as redistricting,” he said in an interview.

The legislature is recording the meetings so that there will be a record of the comments from citizens. At the meetings in Athens, residents filled the Seney-Stovall Chapel to capacity.

Lawmakers will convene for a special session to redraw legislative districts this summer. Each decade, states adjust political boundaries to reflect population shifts.

There will be 12 public meetings statewide, including one tonight in Albany and another in Valdosta on Tuesday.

The joint House and Senate redistricting committees will also hold public meetings next month in Columbus, Macon, Dalton, Gainesville and Atlanta.