Bibb County's Attorney, Virgil Adams, has requested the Department of Justice render a decision about the consolidated Macon/Bibb County elections by Monday.
Lawmakers passed local legislation during the 2013 session to change the area’s elections from partisan to non-partisan as voters elect their first consolidated government.
Adams said he responded Friday to a request from the DOJ for more information about how local legislators decided to make the elections non-partisan. The new law also meant Election Day changed from November to July.
“I would hope that they’ve got everything now to make a decision,” said Adams, who met with legislators about the issue.
The Bibb County Democratic Party has been vocal about the DOJ review. Democrats believe the change to non-partisan elections was designed to give Republican candidates a better foothold in the area. They also argue that the change to a July Election Day will result in lower minority turnout.
State Representative Allen Peake, R-Macon, however said the move was to move Bibb County in line with other local governments in the state.
“We only moved that election from November to July because that’s what [another] state law requires for a non-partisan, consolidated government election, at least that was what we were advised by the legislative counsel at the Capitol,” explained Peake. “So, we just want to clarify that, that we didn’t have any ill intentions, it was just to make sure we were to comply with state law.”
Adams said if Macon and Bibb County officials do not hear from the DOJ by Monday, they may have to look for other avenues to move the election process forward.
“We may have to ask a court to intervene and give us an election date, but we’re not at that point yet. Hopefully, we’ll hear something from DOJ pretty quickly, ‘cause they have all the information they’ve asked for. They’ve got all that we can give them,” said Adams.