Non-Partisan Elections Could Come To Bibb

9:39 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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Some state lawmakers want to bring non-partisan elections to Bibb County.

Rep. Allen Peake and Sen. Cecil Staton said Tuesday that they're discussing legislation authorizing non-partisan elections and expect to introduce the proposal next year.

Staton, a long-time supporter of non-partisan elections, said he'll probably introduce the bill on Jan. 14, the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

He said the non-partisan proposal would include all local elected bodies, including the school board and water authority.

Earlier this year when state lawmakers were putting together a package to consolidate the city and county governments, they didn't include non-partisan elections in the proposal.

Peake said the local delegation was more concerned with getting consolidation approved than non-partisan elections. But Peake said it's now time to move forward with the non-partisan issue.

Macon, Peake noted, is the only municipality in Georgia that still has partisan elections.

The non-partisan election bill would be introduced as local legislation, which means the the majority of the Bibb delegation must approve it in House of Representatives and Senate.

That means three of the five representatives and two of the three senators must approve the bill for it to move forward.

If that happens, the proposal would go before both full chambers for consideration. The General Assembly normally approves local legislation with little or no debate.

Once done, Gov. Nathan Deal would be expected to sign it into law.

But unlike this year's consolidation bill, non-partisan elections aren't expected to get unanimous approval from the delegation.

For example, Rep. James Beverly said he doesn't support non-partisan elections, because he feels voters should know a candidate's party affiliation.

Senator-elect David Lucas has opposed non-partisan elections in the past. He's expected to oppose them in next year's General Assembly session.

So has Rep. Nikki Randall who's said she believes voters should know a candidate's party affiliation.

If that trend holds, the non-partisan vote would boil down to a partisan decision. The five Republican delegation members would support the measure and the three Democrats would oppose it. 

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