When it comes to shared issues, goals and challenges, Jekyll Island has more in common with Sea Island and St. Simons Island than mainland Glynn County.
Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, expressed that fact during a public meeting Tuesday at the Brunswick library to discuss four proposed and preliminary new voting district maps.
Hooks expressed disappointment that Jekyll Island is not in the same district as the other barrier islands in the Golden Isles on any of the four proposed maps.
Hooks also said he understood the state mandate that will force Jekyll to be added to one of the mainland voting districts. The state is requiring all new voting districts to be within 1% of the population, meaning each district cannot deviate by more than 169 people.
New voting district lines are drawn every 10 years after new census results are released.
If he has a preference, Hooks said he’d prefer alternative No. 2, which stretches to Interstate 95.
Julian Smith, owner of properties in three of the four proposed districts, said the city of Brunswick should be in one district. The 1% requirement by the state is “getting things too fine,” Smith said.
Smith expressed sympathy to board of elections officials with the challenge of redrawing the voting district lines.
“The citizens of Glynn County will not be equally represented,” he said.
The comments from the meeting and those at future meetings will be sent to county commissioners, who will ultimately decide which map will be sent to Atlanta to ensure it meets state criteria.
State Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, will introduce the local legislation to make the new lines official.
One suggestion was to provide demographics for each proposed district with the number of residents 18 and older and the number of registered voters in each district.
Glynn County Elections Supervisor Christopher Channell said it would be too time consuming to gather information that detailed for each district. And the state mandate is to keep the districts compact, have clear boundaries and keep incumbents in their current districts.
The number of registered voters in each district is not a consideration, according to the state requirements.
In other business:
• The board learned 14 people showed up to vote on the first day of early voting in the city election by mid afternoon. Thirty-seven voting by mail ballots have been requested. The board will post the number of voters who show up to the polls to early vote from the previous day at 10 a.m. daily on the board of elections website.
City voters are electing a new mayor, a North Ward commissioner and a South Ward commissioner.
• The board was told to be prepared for a monthly expenditure soon that will be higher than normal. A national shortage of some materials include important items needed for the 2022 elections, including printer cartridges and special ballot paper. The plan is to order the items for next year’s elections now to ensure the supplies will be in stock.