Lawsuit filed against Macon-Bibb regarding vacant District 1 seat
MACON, Ga. -- A lawsuit was filed against Macon-Bibb County Monday morning after a May special election to fill the vacant District 1 seat was voted down Friday by the Board of Elections.
Lester Miller -- a 2020 Macon mayoral candidate -- led the press conference on the steps of the Bibb County Courthouse.
Officials say the lawsuit includes a motion to require a special election on May 22. The special election must now be approved at least 29 days prior.
"It shouldn't come to this," Miller said. "We expect the county commission to do the right thing. We expect to have a special election May 22 and I'm sure we'll have competent people to step up and represent the district."
"The right to vote and the right to be represented...are the fundamental concepts of democracy," Macon attorney Jerry Lumley said. "We're asking the court to ensure that democracy is fulfilled."
Currently, District 1 is set to go without representation for eight months, as it will be empty until the November election.
Gary Bechtel resigned from the District 1 seat in March as he prepares to run for District 141 for the Georgia House of Representatives.
Prior to Friday's vote, Macon-Bibb recently approved $19,535 in funding for a special election.
"I've looked and there are 10,000 registered voters or so in District 1," Lumley said. "The board of elections is essentially saying the right to vote is not worth $2. I beg to differ."
Friday's no-vote came as Macon-Bibb faces looming budget problems -- almost a $4 million deficit for fiscal year 2018.
"The right to vote and be represented -- especially in difficult times like these where our county may be assessing more taxes -- the right to vote and be at the table when those decisions are made is priceless," Lumley said.
WGXA reached out to Macon-Bibb County Monday morning, which says it has no comment until it receives and reviews the lawsuit.
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.