Kemp Inks New Maps of Legislative Districts and Congress |
ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp on Thursday signed new maps of legislative districts and Congress and immediately faced a lawsuit claiming they are unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Georgian branch of the ACLU and a Washington, DC-based law firm accuse new state House and Senate cards approved by the Republican majority in the General Assembly on last month in violation of section 2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act.
The lawsuit cites the significant growth of Georgia’s minority population since the last decennial redistribution session in 2011. On the other hand, the state’s white population has declined since the last decennial census in 2010.
Yet, according to the plaintiffs, the Republicans did not recognize this growth when they could have attracted at least a half-dozen new districts of the Senate or the House of the majority black state, thus diluting the power of black vote.
“These newly drawn maps are a brazen attempt by Georgian politicians to undermine the political power of black voters,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, deputy director of the ACLU’s voting rights project.
“There is no legitimate justification for drawing cards that deny black voters the opportunity to elect representatives who will fight for them.”
During last month’s special redistribution session, Republican lawmakers argued that Democrats were targeting GOP congressional and parliamentary seats in a similar fashion in 2001, the last time they controlled the General Assembly.
They also highlighted projections based on the new maps that show Democrats could win at least one state Senate seat after the 2022 election and half a dozen House seats.
While the ACLU lawsuit does not deal with the new congressional map drawn by legislative Republicans, legal challenges against Georgia’s new congressional districts are expected to follow.
Unlike legislative maps, the new congressional district lines are expected to add to the majority the GOP holds in the congressional delegation. By significantly reshaping the 6e A congressional district in the northern suburbs of Atlanta that strongly favors Republicans, the composition of the delegation is likely to drop from an 8-6 GOP advantage to a 9-5 majority.
Kemp signed the new cards just before the legal deadline to do so. This gives groups contesting the new district lines less time to argue their case before the March qualifying period for candidates for General Assembly and Congress.
This story is available through a partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.