It's believed rural areas could face a decrease in voting power when all is said and done. After Georgia lawmakers missed a deadline to redraw districting maps, local representatives from both parties say rural areas could now suffer.
Lawmakers have been unable to agree on how to divide their districts. Now, the federal courts may have to do it for them, possibly ending rural concentration in certain districts.
"Rural votes are important as they are to any district because everybody wants to be fairly represented in state Legislature. However, we will be represented, it'll just be according to the number of people we have," says Doug Silvis, a Republican Party representative.
State representatives are concerned the officials appointed to redraw the maps are not Georgia citizens, however, senators do defend the reasoning behind all of this.
“It's not that courts are trying to dilute rural representation, it's that they have to make sure every district coincides with the U.S. Constitution's "One Man-One Vote" principle. The new maps will be drawn based on nothing but population, not incumbency," says Sen. John Bulloch.
Thomas County's Democratic Party Chairman, Gary Cooper, tells us south Georgia stands to lose two or three Senate seats to north Georgia if the courts step in.
Silvis says in the end this is why it's important to have credible representation in the Legislature, so no matter what the district, rural needs will be met.
Lawmakers have been given a grace period through March 15 to finalize their maps before the courts redraw the maps. There's a democratic open forum about this issue at Ryan's Steakhouse Tuesday night at 7.