Judge orders Georgia to draw new congressional map
Georgia lawmakers will hold a special meeting next month to redraft several congressional districts, after a federal court ruled that they had violated the Voting Right Act.
The ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones on Thursday said that the boundaries in breach are Districts 3,6, 11, 13, and 14.
The act prohibits discrimination based on race in electoral and voting matters. It was passed in 1965.
By Dec. 8, the legislature must draw new boundaries.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued a Proclamation after the decision on Thursday that the Special Session would begin Nov. 29,
According to AJC, the ruling could result in the election of additional Black representatives to Congress.
The court stated that the plaintiffs, Black residents and those whose voting rights were violated by Section 2 of Voting Rights Act had suffered “significant harm.”
The court stated that “these citizens have the right to vote as soon a possible for their representative under a legal apportionment scheme.”
What they are saying: Georgia Democratic Party chair and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, in a press release, called the election a “resounding win for Georgia voters and democracy.”
She said that the Republicans in the state legislature “hurriedly” drew the maps so as to gain an electoral advantage, and reduce the voting power for Black residents.
She said that the decision “confirms what Georgia Democrats knew already: Georgia Republicans’ efforts to hold on to power through voter suppression and racial-gerrymandering won’t stand.”
The ruling was criticized by Josh McKoon of the Georgia Republican Party.
He said, “It’s outrageous that a far-left federal court invalidates the will of elected representatives of Georgians,” in a party statement shared on X.
The order of the judge also calls for legislators to:
Another majority-Black Congressional District in West Metro Atlanta
Two districts with a majority of black senators and two districts with a majority of black representatives are located on the southern side metro Atlanta.
Another district with a majority of Black Houses in the West metro area
Two districts with a majority of Black House members are located in the Bibb county area.
The bigger picture: The fight over redistricting, and whether maps approved by lawmakers are racially biased, is playing out all across the United States, including Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
A federal judge approved earlier this month a new congressional district map for Alabama, which included a majority-Black area.