MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- State Representative James Beverly plans to file a complaint with the Department of Justice this week, to challenge the series of bills that would eliminate partisan elections for several of Bibb County's local offices.
Beverly, who voted against the bills after a debate in the House last week, says they are a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
State Senator Cecil Staton wrote the bills that passed in the senate, and State Representative Allen Peake spoke in support of the bills. Not only does the legislation do away with party titles, it also moves elections from November to July.
"Historically African Americans, matter of a fact, everybody votes more in November, so you've suppressed a vote by moving it to July," says Beverly.
Beverly says he would have had no problem with Bibb County voters deciding on the matter, but the legislatures didn't consider that option.
"The whole thing with voting, and the Voting Rights Act is, you have to get buy-in from the whole community, and they didn't do that," said Beverly.
The Department of Justice has to OK the bills before they become law, and Beverly believes they won't be cleared. He talked about the move to do the same thing in Augusta, and Richmond County, a case in which the Department of Justice said, no you can't do that.
"By going to a nonpartisan election you move the election from a November date to a July date that movement was struck down in the Augusta charter last year when they tried to do the same thing."
Now, he'll begin the process of filing a complaint with the Department of Justice. The representative says he's got a lot of support from the community.
"There are city council members, commissioners... the unions, you have teachers, you have a bunch of organizations saying we feel duped by this bill, and I'm sure they're going to write letters to the Department of Justice... those kind of things build a case saying listen this community was not consulted, there's a small group of folk, four of which don't even live in the community, made a decision for the community," said Beverly.
Check back with 41 NBC online and on the news at 6 for more on this story.