The U.S. Department of Justice has notified the city that it received no objections to the city's re-districting plan, which means the city will be using the new ward lines for the May 7 party primaries.
As a result of the Justice Department decision to OK the new ward lines, six of the 14 non-incumbent candidates running for City Council seats will now be running in different wards, if they choose to continue to seek public office.
Some of the changes will be dramatic. For instance, Ward 3 Councilmember Lucy Denton is going from having no opposition to possibly now facing three opponents, and candidate Dr. Paul A. Tisdale, running in Ward 5 where Tom Wall had been the long-time councilmember, will now be unopposed.
It was unclear how many of the city's 24,029 registered voters would be impacted by the new ward lines, but it was evident that six candidates would be running in new wards, if they choose to run in the re-aligned wards. Joy Barhanovich Tucei, Dixie Newman and Dianne G. Harenski would move from Ward 4 to Ward 3 to face Denton. Robert Collier and "Deming" Robert L. Deming, III would move from Ward 6 to Ward 4 in a race that would also include Robert A. "Bob" Carroll and David Leckich. And Dan Hunter would move from Ward 5 to Ward 4.
Said Municipal Clerk Stacy Thacker, who faces a Tuesday deadline to print absentee ballots: "We received this notice Wednesday afternoon. This morning, we're notifying the impacted candidates, and we're continuing to seek guidance from the Secretary of State's office. The impacted candidates need to be given opportunity to make a decision on whether they want to move forward now that the Justice Department has rendered a decision.
"Our other challenge at this point is to work between now and May 7 to educate voters about the new ward lines and where they will be voting."
Election news and notes
To see the new ward lines, which are now in effect, click here.
To see the official notice from the Department of Justice, which was forwarded to the city this morning, click here.
To see the lineup of candidates using the new ward lines, presuming all choose to continue their campaigns, click here.