The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections on Friday officially postponed the July 16 election for the new consolidated government until federal officials clear the way.
The action came after the board convened behind closed doors with County Attorney Virgil Adams to discuss a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice requesting additional information.
In the letter, justice officials wrote more data was needed before they could decide whether moving the consolidated government election from November to July and making it non-partisan would adversely impact minority voting.
Election Board Chair Rinda Wilson said the board's only option was postponement.
"We're waiting further decision from the Department of Justice about our election," Wilson said. "The Supreme Court also has a case before it about pre-clearance in general that may weigh-in on our decision, so we had no choice but to postpone the July election pending hearing from justice, the Supreme Court and all that."
The U.S. Supreme is expected to rule in June on whether to continue allowing the justice department to pre-clear any voting changes in several states with a history of racial discrimination. Georgia is one of them.
Wilson also said the once a new election date is scheduled, the board will have another period for candidates to qualify for positions in the new government.
Qualifying fee for the mayor's office is $3,000. It's $400 for the each of the nine commission seats.
Wilson said those who qualified for the July 16 election can get refunds or leave their qualification fee in escrow if they still plan to seek office once a new election date is set.
Because there'll be a new qualifying period, Wilson said additional candidates would be allowed to qualify when the new period is held.