Bibb Sheriff: Controversial polling location change should be revisited
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Bibb County Sheriff David Davis feels if people are upset about a recent decision to move a polling precinct to a sheriff’s office location, the idea should be revisited.
The Godfrey 2 (Memorial Gym) polling precinct was moved to the Bibb County Sheriff’s District Two Office because it’s going to be under construction during the upcoming May and November elections.
Three civil rights groups feel a law enforcement presence will deter people from coming to vote. They’ve asked for a change.
Sheriff Davis understands their concerns and wants to be as accommodating as possible.
“If it’s going to create any kind of controversy, that’s the last thing any of us want. We have a positive image and a positive relationship with the citizens in the community, but in the larger context of law enforcement and community relations, I can see where some folks may be a little concerned about it,” said Sheriff Davis.
The civil rights groups protested outside of the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections Wednesday.
“To locate a polling place in a police precinct, this is just not the right time to do it. I pray that there is a day when the people of my community can not fear the police, but that day has not yet come,” said Francys Johnson, the State President of the Georgia NAACP.
Board of Elections Member Ronnie Miley said the board picked the sheriff’s office location because it was readily available.
If the decision stands, Davis is going to try and make the office as inviting as possible. This includes moving deputy cars off the property.
“Anyone that would come in and vote, they would come straight off the parking lot, go into that room, cast their ballot and leave. They wouldn’t even come into any of the working area of the district office,” explained Davis.
Davis doesn’t want to deter South Macon residents from voting. Especially since he believes he has a great relationship with that community.
“I was just at a meeting last week with the SMART group to help revitalize that very area where the District Two Office is,” recalled Davis.
This issue is up for discussion at the BOE’s meting Thursday. It starts at 4 p.m. at the BOE on Pio Nono Avenue.