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Maps clear state legislature
County poised to add two House seats
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Forsyth County News

With votes falling along party lines, lawmakers have approved the new district maps for the Georgia Legislature.

The maps — which must still clear the governor, Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice — give Forsyth County two additional legislators, for a total of five.

District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, acknowledged that not everyone in Forsyth County is "going to like the representative district that they’re drawn into."

"But I think overall, Forsyth because of the population and pure mathematical reasons will certainly have more representation at the Capitol," Hamilton said. "And in my opinion, that’s a good thing."

The maps are separate from the one that details Georgia’s congressional districts.

That map, released earlier this week, is under review by state lawmakers. A vote could occur next week.

The proposed congressional map deepens the split of Forsyth between Districts 7 and 9.

The state redistricting process occurs every 10 years to match changes in population as determined by the 2010 U.S. Census.

Forsyth County grew about 78 percent between 2000-10, with a current population of about 175,500. That’s up from about 98,400 in 2000.

To comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the state legislature’s proposed House and Senate maps feature districts based on population.

On the House map, each district has between 53,287 and 54,352 people. On the Senate map, those totals range between 171,350 and 174,530.

The House map brings with it some numerical changes to Forsyth County.

Hamilton’s district will change from 23 to 24. His Republican colleague Mike Dudgeon of south Forsyth will be in District 25.

District 26 would be new to the county and located solely within Forsyth.

The area covers the north end of Forsyth and travels south along the county’s eastern edge by Lake Lanier.

Parts of Forsyth would also be included in House Districts 22 and 27.

District 22 includes some of southwestern Forsyth, eastern Cherokee and a corner of northwestern Fulton.

Forsyth would join northern Hall and southern White counties in District 27.

State Sen. Jack Murphy noted the maps were largely supported by Republicans, with most Democrats opposed.

"But the maps are constitutional," said Murphy, a Republican from Cumming. "I think they’re fair. I think they’re balanced."

Forsyth County’s Senate representation didn’t change much.

Dahlonega Republican Sen. Steve Gooch’s District 51 will still include part of northeastern Forsyth, though just not as much.

For Murphy, District 27 will shed Cherokee County and shifting entirely to Forsyth.

"I don’t think it can be much better for Forsyth County as far as the Senate district is concerned," Murphy said. "We’ve got several senators wanting to come into Forsyth and I didn’t agree with that.

"I think we wound up drawing a great map that ended up benefiting Forsyth County greatly."