MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- A series of bills that would remove political party affiliations from ballots has passed in the state senate. It must also be approved by the state house before it's enacted as law.
Two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, spent less than 10 minutes each debating seven bills that will change the future of Bibb County elections.
34 of members of the Georgia State Senate, all Republicans, gave the stack the green light. 14 of the 15 nay-sayers were Democrats, and one was a Republican.
"I have no apologies to offer for this, this is absolutely the best thing possible on the heels of our consolidation vote to better our community," says State Senator Cecil Staton, District 18.
Staton wrote the proposed legislation which eliminates party titles on local ballots for candidates for mayor, county commission, coroner, civil court judge, magistrate judge, probate judge, Macon Water Authority, or school board.
"I'm not surprised. The Republicans have the majority in the house. It's basically what you call a usurp of power of the people," says State Senator David Lucas, District 26.
Lucas knew it would be a tough battle, but he still brought his fight to the floor. He argued the consolidation bill that people voted on should have included nonpartisan elections.
"It's been a game of bate and switch," says Lucas.
Staton says he and other members of the local Bibb County Legislative Delegation had this on their mind when they were writing the consolidation bill. Staton believes it's what Bibb County residents want.
"In all of the town halls all over Bibb County white, black, Democrat, Republican, we kept hearing we need non-partisan elections," says Staton.
The bill will head to a committee in the Georgia House of Representatives. State Representative Allen Peake tells us he expects it will be approved by the full house next week. Just like in the senate, the representatives will have the opportunity to debate the legislation.
"They'll be able to object to it, they'll have the right to speak against the bill they'll have the right to do that, but then it will be up to the will of the house, and I feel confident that the majority of the house will vote with us on this bill," says Peake.
He expects the bill will be voted on either Monday or Tuesday.