A candidate for Bibb County's school board says he will file a federal lawsuit next week unless the county adopts updated election districts.
Lester Miller says he's asked the county to adopt new maps that were drawn this year to replace 12-year-old maps based on the 2000 census.
Otherwise, he says this year's school board elections will be based on outdated maps.
And he says that violates the "one-man, one-vote" principle guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, because the county's population has shifted in the past decade.
Miller, a Macon lawyer, is a candidate for the District Four school board seat. He says he's filed a request with the Bibb County board of elections to use the current maps, not the old ones.
If they don't agree by Friday, he says, he'll file the federal suit next Monday. He'll ask for an injunction to delay voting on the July 31 school-board primary races.
"Obviously, the hope is going to be having to avoid filing suit in the first place," Miller said.
"I'm being represented by Charles Cox as our local counsel," Miller said. "We are prepared to file the suit, ready willing and able to do so. We hope that the board of elections will actually do what's required and that's to follow the new maps that were approved by the DOJ."
School board member Gary Bechtel wanted to use the new maps all along. Bechtel said he supports Miller in his efforts to get that done.
"I think that the new lines that were approved by the legislature, signed by the governor, now approved by the Department of Justice should be the ones utilized," Bechtel said.
"The legislators took their time with it. They made the appropriate changes, and it was reviewed by the Justice Department and approved. So it doesn't disenfranchise anybody. It keeps the one man one vote, and I salute Lester Miller who I believe is going to bring the lawsuit."
State Rep. Allen Peake of Macon said he fully supports Miller in his efforts to get the new districts used in this year's election.
He called the new lines "fair, constitutional and properly balanced."
School board President Tommy Barnes couldn't be reached for comment.
Elections Superintendent Elaine Carr declined comment, saying she's unaware of the possible lawsuit.
The maps are significant because this year's races could shift the makeup of the Bibb County board of education.
Over the past two years, the board has split, 5 to 3, on many issues, with the majority in support of Supt. Romain Dallemand.
And several races feature Dallemand critics running against Dallemand supporters on the board.
School board chairman Tommy Barnes could not be reached for comment.
The new maps were drawn up this winter by the Georgia General Assembly.
But the Bibb school board decided not to approve them last month. Some members, like Barnes, said legislators never notified them of the changes.