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Posted: May 12, 2011 2:28 p.m.

Redistricting workshop Saturday

Redistricting discussions are beginning to heat up, and Newton County will have its first redistricting workshop at 2 p.m., Saturday at the Holiday Inn Express, 9159 Access Road N.W. in Covington.

Redistricting expert Jerry Wilson, a Decatur-area lawyer, will present the basics of redistricting, including legal requirements, how residents can get involved and an update on the state's redistricting process.

Wilson said the Powerpoint presentation should take a couple of hours and that residents will have opportunities to ask questions.

"(To become involved, residents should) learn as much as they can about the process. Then they need to learn about their local and legislative governing boards, how people are elected to them and how they are impacted by the population shifts," Wilson said Tuesday. "I'll have a more general perspective, state wide. I haven't looked at local numbers, but I may get a chance between now and (Saturday)."

Wilson has participated in three previous redistricting efforts, and is hosting the workshop as part of an educational effort of several organizations, including the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The Newton County event is also being sponsored by the local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Newton County Democratic Party; the Newton County Ministers' Union, the Newton County NAACP and The Think Tank, an area radio show.

"A lot of us have significant voting rights experience, and a lot of this is making sure that the minority community is involved in this process to the extent it should be," Wilson said.

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