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Ficklin prevails, Superior Court judge orders new election for District 2

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On Tuesday, November 26-- two days before Thanksgiving--Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Boswell ruled in favor of Macon City Councilman Henry Ficklin and ordered that a new election must take place for the Macon-Bibb County District 2 commission seat.

Boswell acknowledged to Lee Parks, the attorney for apparent winner Larry Schlesinger, a new election was needed despite the expense and aggravation.

Local Republicans led by State Rep. Allen Peake and State Sen. Cecil Staton were chiefly responsible in regard to how the Macon-Bibb commission district maps were drawn and led the way in trying to push for earlier elections despite objections and legal challenges.

Ficklin released a statement saying that at least 50 people at Overlook Gardens, an east Macon apartment complex located at 1400 Gray Highway (East Macon 4), were not allowed to vote in the October 15 runoff.

Larry Scheslinger won by just 26 votes on October 15 over Ficklin.

However, those results will be thrown out and new election is likely to happen in January.

According to the Macon Telegraph, Jeannetta Watson, the supervisor for the Board of Elections, said the election will be held after holidays but said “It’ll be before the end of January for sure. ... We want the best voter turnout. We feel like in the holidays, people aren't really thinking about voting,” but rather thinking more about family and holidays and cooking

District 2 stretches into neighborhoods east of Gray Highway that includes streets such as Fort Hill, Maynard, Woolfolk and Hall Streets and are in the same district as North Macon neighborhoods that include River North, Woodland Drive, Briarcliff Rd, HIckory Ridge Drive and Tiffin Circle.

The more affluent North Macon neighborhood in District 2 includes a growing commercial district which features outlets such as the Northgate Village Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center.

The six local precincts that encompasses District 2 are the following:

HO4 (Howard 4) - North Macon Park
EM4 (East Macon 4)- Northeast Magnet High School
EM1 (East Macon 1) River Edge Behavioral (Health Department)
GF1 (Godfrey 1) Pentecostal Temple (Anthony Rd.)
GF2 (Godfrey 2) Memorial Gym (Long Street)
GF4 (Godfrey 4) Bruce Elementary (Houston Ave.)

Scheslinger will depend heavily on voters in North Macon's Republican-leaning precinct HOWARD 4 which is located at North Macon Park. The Howard 4 precinct has usually been a high participation precinct and has usually supported Republicans such as George Bush, Mitt Romney and Saxby Chambliss. Scheslinger won this precinct 619-135.

Scheslinger will also depend on conservatives coming out in EAST MACON 4 which is located at Northeast High School. EAST MACON 4 was won by President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but it is the most conservative of the Democratic-leaning precincts in Bibb County.

Overlook Gardens was the source of voter disfranchisement which is located in EAST MACON 4. However, Republicans via redistricting in the General Assembly, split Overlook Gardens in an effort to disenfranchise voters and cause confusion.

Ficklin and his legal team investigated and some of the findings and it includes the following:

"Buildings 1-8 of the Overlook Garden apartments are physically and geographically located in District 2. Buildings 9-12 of the Overlook Gardens apartments are physically and geographically located in District 3 by virtue of the legislation creating the consolidated Macon-Bibb County Board of Commissioners."

Ficklin received the most votes from EAST MACON 1 which is located off of Emery Highway with GODFREY 2 being a close second which is located at Memorial Gym on Long Street.

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