North-South Battle Brewing

Dozens of angry voters showed up at a Town Hall meeting in Wewahitchka to voice their anger over Gulf County's “partial at-large” voting changes.

Some residents from the north part of the county say the change is an attempt to give more power to the south end.

County Commissioner Carmen McLemore used the meeting to explain the impact of “partial at-large voting” on Gulf County, and why he's prepared to sue if his fellow commissioners don't change their minds.

Angela Minchew, an angry voter, was vocal on the issue.

"At this time I hope it's not a north, south issue, a quality issue for all of the voters who are concerned, not just a single commissioner, not just four commissioners. It's just not right.”

Commissioner McLemore called the special county commissioner meeting in the hopes of overturning “partial at large voting.” Earlier this week, the commission voted 3 to 2 to allow all voters to vote on all commission races except one.

Only people in District 4 would be able to vote for candidates in that race. That's board chairman Nathan Peters’ district. Peters is African-American and so is 40 percent of his district.

Gulf County's attorney researched the issue and says “partial at-large voting” violates state law.

So Commissioner McLemore says if the commissioners don’t fix it, he'll find a judge who will.

“I challenged the chairmen of the board down there. You call a special meeting to resolve this issue or I will take legal action."

Only two commissioners showed up for the town hall meeting, leaving McLemore without enough members to hold the special meeting.

"Yah, they don't have the backbone, if they did they would be up here tonight on very important issue."

McLemore has not said when he plans to file the suit against the county, but says he does want to resolve the issue immediately.


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