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Brown: Redraw district lines for county commission elections

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown wants to redraw the lines for the existing three county commission districts to account for population shifts.

But he’s not the only one intent on changing the lines, as the county has been sued by the Fayette County National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons in an effort to implement district voting, which would require a massive redrawing of the district lines and the creation of two additional geographic districts, for a new total of five voting districts.

Currently the county is divided into three geographic districts, and one commissioner must reside in each district, even though each seat is up for a countywide “at large” election. The other two commission seats are also considered at large since there are no requirements for the commissioner to live in any of the three specific districts.

Brown, in an email to county officials, said he wants to keep the current voting system but redraw the lines to keep “urban, suburban and rural districts with a balanced population. It is a much better alternative than district voting.”

The county has declined to release a proposed district map that Brown referred to in his email because it was created in response to the pending NAACP lawsuit.

The county in recent months has pursued a legal analysis for its standing in the lawsuit to determine if it will settle with NAACP or attempt to fight the lawsuit.

If the NAACP prevails, all Fayette County voters will lose the right to vote on all five commission members. Instead they will only be able to vote in one commission race every four years, for the seat that corresponds with the geographical area in which they live.

The Fayette County Board of Education last month voted 3-2 to settle the NAACP lawsuit, adopting a new map of five districts that creates one minority majority district.

Brown has asked for his proposal to be put on the agenda for the Feb. 23 commission meeting. He contends the latest Census data could be used to even out the number of residents in each district.

Brown has pledged to oppose district voting, adding that he pledged to do so in his campaign for office.



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