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Redistricting committee hosting public hearings across Georgia

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 5:43 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Every 10 years we participate in the U.S. Census to get a better understanding of the current population. Now that the Census collection is completed, the process of redrawing voting districts across the state begins.

The redistricting process only happens once a decade and is crucial for making any necessary adjustments for population growth.

The redistricting committee is hosting listening sessions across the state to hear from the public.

The committee is made up of 14 republicans and four democrats. Representative Carl Gilliard from Garden City is on the redistricting committee and says, after looking at Census numbers, he does not think there will be any additions to senators or representatives but lines will be redrawn in the area.

While data from the census plays a large part, Step Up Savannah says it isn’t always an accurate representation.

Low wealth communities and communities of color are less likely to respond to the Census, which is why the executive director of Step Up Savannah says they will be going to the hearing on Monday to make sure those communities are represented in the re-drawings of districts.

“The redistricting hearings give opportunities to those communities to step up to the plate and speak to the Georgia Legislature as well as the governor’s office about representation for their community,” said Alicia Johnson, Executive Director of Step Up Savannah. “It impacts us not just with senate seats but at every level, our county commissioners, our city council, our school board representatives, so it is most necessary for the people to get engaged in their own civic processes.”

“The voters should be able to pick the persons that they want to elect and not have those that are elected pick their voters so this is very important,” said Rep. Carl Gilliard, Committee Member. “We have got one of the best delegations in the state that there is fair representation to the way the districts are drawn, that we protect the interest of Chatham County the way that we are made up and that it represents the makeup of the people.”

Rep. Gilliard says they have had good attendance at meetings so far, and he expects another good turnout at Monday’s hearing, which is happening in Brunswick at 5 p.m. at the College of Coastal Georgia. You can attend the hearing or watch it live.

To watch the hearing live or submit a written testimony, click here.

To participate in the Caravan from Savannah to the redistricting hearing in Brunswick on Monday, July 26, click here.

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