Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Commissions Say No to At-Large Voting

Monday night - 2005-11-21 - at the county commission chambers the hot topic was changing the way we have voted since 1992 for our commissioners. We currently have a district based voting system that is set up to put at least two minority commissioners on the board. This was put in place in 1992 to ensure minority representation on the board.

Columbus County Citizens for Better Government (CCCBG) have been pushing for a resolution to go to a modified at-large system. This system would have the 5 non-minority district seats changed to an at-large vote, meaning that you no longer have to be from a certain district to run or vote for each seat. The CCCBG proposed steps to ensure minorities would stay on the board. If the commissioners had passed this resolution, then in November the vote would go to the people of Columbus County. If the voted passed then a federal court would have to lift the order for district voting.

An estimated 4500 residents signed a petition in support of at-large voting. This topic has risin in recent years due to the people of our county not being happy with the way the commissioners are running things. Corruption in county government and mishandled water districts are two of the biggest reasons for this resolution. Many people feel that they aren't represented by all the members of the board because you can only vote for the commisioner in your home district. CCCBG feels that at-large voting will give us a board that is more in tune with all the people of Columbus County.

Commissioner James Prevatte made the motion to accept the resolution but failed to gain a second. He said that it should be up to the people to decide how to vote. It's fair to note that Commissioner Prevatte was supported by the CCCBG in his election to the board.

Sammy Hinson, president of CCCBG has stated in the past that if this resolution failed that the main goal of CCCBG in the next election was to replace all the commissioners that did not support at-large voting. Mr. Hinson is expected to run against Commissioner David Dutton for the district 7 seat (my district).

Of note, the CCCBG is opposed by the Columbus Coalition. The Columbus Coalition is a political group of some of the countie's black leaders. Andy Anderson spoke for the Columbus Coalition at the meeting. He stated that the Columbus Coalition would not talk with CCCBG about at-large voting and would fight it in court if need be. He states that racism is still too common in Columbus County for a minority to gain office in an at-large vote.

posted by David at 4:34 PM :: Permalink ::

Comments on "Commissions Say No to At-Large Voting"


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