A lawsuit filed Monday asks a judge to order that a special election be held in May for a Macon-Bibb County Commission post.
The suit, filed by Bibb County school board member Daryl Morton, names the County Commission and the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections as defendants. It comes on the heels of the election board's vote Friday to hold the special election for the commission's District 1 seat in November instead of during the May 22 general primary.
Some election board members cited the county's financial problems as a reason not to spend the nearly $20,000 that having the election in May would cost. The County Commission approved that funding last week after initially voting to not pay for it..
But the lawsuit filed Monday in Bibb County Superior Court contends that it is the duty of the commission and election board to hold the special election within 60 days of Friday's election board meeting.
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The commission seat became vacant in March when Commissioner Gary Bechtel stepped down to run for state representative.
The suit says it's unfair for the residents of the north Macon district not to have a commissioner until November. Unless the election is held in May, those residents will be forced to deal with "taxation without representation," the complaint said.
Morton, a resident of District 1, said it's especially important to have someone in office soon, since votes on items such as a new county budget are imminent.
He was joined at Monday morning's news conference by several dozen people, including fellow school board member Lester Miller and Commissioner Joe Allen.
"This is not just about the voters of District 1," Morton said . "Every voter has a right to be represented."
Election board attorney William Noland said at Friday's meeting that it was up to board members to decide whether the special election would be held May 22 or Nov. 6.
A ruling on the complaint is expected before the 29-day window required before a May 22 special election could be called, Morton's attorney, Jerry Lumley, said.
Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis has also scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Tuesday outside the election board office about the need for a special election in May.
Bechtel, who also attended Monday's news conference, said he was surprised that his former seat is not up for election in May. The term expires at the end of 2020.