WARNER ROBINS -- Age and residency requirement changes for city candidates are official following this weeks U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Though City Council voted in January to change the requirements for anyone running for local office, the decision required a federal stamp of approval. But the Supreme Courts 5-4 decision changed that, making the new requirements official, City Attorney Jim Elliott said.
Essentially, there is no more constitutional requirement to have a review by the Department of Justice, he said.
Now a person must be at least 21 years old to run for council and 23 years old to run for mayor, in addition to having lived in the city at least one year and within a council district for at least six months. Previously, candidates for mayor and council had to be 18 years old with at least three months in the city.
Qualifying for the mayoral and council races is in August. The election is Nov. 5. Elliott said public notices for the seats will reflect the changes.
Before the Supreme Court ruling Tuesday, any changes to voting laws had to pass through the Department of Justice. That included redistricting maps and candidate requirements. But the court narrowly ruled the map -- based on statistics from the 1960s -- used to determine which states needed the additional scrutiny was outdated. It said Congress can come up with a more up-to-date version, but until then federal oversight was overreaching.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.