Georgia lawmakers are moving to hold a special session to discuss drawing a new political map for voting. According to an NPR interview, a judge ruled that the state’s existing districts hampered Black voters from being able to contribute fairly to elections. A Georgia panel will sit down in Atlanta this upcoming week to discuss.
The group will gather in a special legislative session to redraw Georgia’s political map due to a federal judge deciding that several of the districts violated the Voting Rights Act in regards to their population of Black voters.
Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Stephen Fowler said while talking to Sarah MccMammon that Georgia was growing rapidly, with more than a million new residents in the metro Atlanta area — most in a young and diverse populous.
He said, “Several civil and voting rights groups sued over those maps, pointing to the specific growth in Georgia’s Black population over the last decade and arguing the redistricting maps, including state legislative maps that did add a couple more Democratic-leaning districts, were not able to give Black voters the ability to elect candidates of their choice.”
Fowler continued, “Judge Steve Jones found that five of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts violated the Voting Rights Act, as well as about two dozen seats in Georgia’s state House and Senate, either by heavily consolidating Black residents into a couple of districts or spreading them out over too many districts where they weren’t really able to have much political power at the ballot box. Now, he ordered the legislature to create new maps by December 8 that create additional majority-Black districts in a couple of parts of Georgia, mainly Atlanta’s western and southern suburbs, where there’s been a huge demographic shift but not necessarily a political one as far as state and federal lawmakers go.”
He explained that it was complicated to just go in and fix the districts. Fowler said that you would have to redo the entire outline to ensure it’s fair.
“As you said, there should be more districts where Black voters can elect a candidate of their choice. But, Sarah, that doesn’t mean more Democratic lawmakers overall. That’s because Republicans could keep more of an advantage by targeting some of Georgia’s Democratic-leaning districts that are majority-white, changing their composition and not violating the law because, reminder, it’s legal to gerrymander for partisan purposes.”
The new borders are set to be discussed some time this week, and will hopefully solve the issues identified by the Federal judge.