BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WSAV) — State lawmakers are set to meet in Brunswick on Monday evening to discuss how they will redraw district maps used in elections.
Every 10 years, states must redraw election districts to reflect the population count gathered by the U.S. Census. Since the 2010 census, Georgia’s population has grown by more than one million people.
Monday’s hearing is part of a series of 10, where lawmakers will listen to the public’s input on how districts should be redrawn.
State Representative Carl Gilliard (D) of Garden City is on the redistricting committee. He expects some changes are likely for districts in Chatham County.
“You have a lot of territory that’s growing in different varieties,” Gilliard said. “Pooler is one of the fastest-growing cities. Chatham County has grown tremendously. I’m gonna be looking at those things and just making sure we have fair practices in reference to how we draw those lines.”
Rep. Gilliard encourages the public to get involved.
“You’ve got to monitor the process,” Gilliard said. “There’s several committee members that are on this committee. You’ve got to hold the committee members accountable to be fair.”
Step Up Savannah organized a non-partisan caravan for Savannahians to go to the Brunswick hearing.
“We will be monitoring this process” Pastor Bernard Clarke, president of the Evangelical Ministers Union, said. “We would like for those individuals that are responsible for redistricting to make sure that Savannah is heard.”
Among those in the caravan was Brunswick native Daniela Rodriguez, who serves as the director of Migrant Equity Southeast.
“I have seen the injustices that happen, the lack of representation and the lack of resources my community has for many years,” Rodriguez said. “Now that I have the knowledge to advocate for my community I’m very happy to use it.”
Some community leaders are concerned with how the lines will be drawn and that no hearings were scheduled in Savannah.
“If we are not there as a people and as organizations, we stand a chance of losing a whole lot here in our community,” former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson said.
Following the public input hearings, the redrawing process is set to begin on September 30th with a vote in early November, according to Gilliard.
The hearing is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at the College of Coastal Georgia.
The next scheduled hearings are in Albany, Columbus and Macon, with an additional online testimony scheduled for July 30th.