Georgia GOP senators float court-ordered political map that seems to target two incumbent Democrats – Georgia Recorder

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Georgia’s Senate Republicans on Monday said a court-ordered remap would shift the focus of black voters in several legislative districts.

On Monday, Rep. Shelly Echols, Republican of Gainesville, released a draft of Georgia’s new Senate districts for the public to hear during the redistricting process that begins Wednesday. Commencement of a special legislative session.

The draft map is the first attempt at a legal response to the state’s ruling on Nov. 2 by U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones. Boundary lines drawn by the GOP Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was violated by diluting the voting power of black Georgians.

As a result, the state will not be able to use these maps in next year’s election, when all members of Congress and the Georgia General Assembly will be elected. Dec. 8 is set for both the House and Senate to draw new maps that would create two new majority-black state Senate districts and five majority-black state House districts.

Georgia Senate Republicans praised Echols, chairman of the reappointment and redistricting committee, for leading a thoughtful, inclusive and transparent process that made the map available for public viewing before the start of a special session on Monday.

“It is abundantly clear that judicial redistricting is primarily a legislative process, and we believe and appreciate Senator Echols’ leadership in helping us carry out this important legislative responsibility,” the GOP statement said.

Jones’ court order obligations Georgia drew new maps in west metro Atlanta, including four new majority-black House and Senate districts in south metro Atlanta, two new majority black districts around Macon-Bibb County and another majority-black House district in west metro Atlanta.

The proposed maps draw new districts where Democrats Sens. Elena Parent and Jason Esteves contemplate removing metro Atlanta grass, now representing districts with a predominantly white voting-age population. The proposed map would place senators in new districts with high black populations. If the Republican map presented Monday remains intact, the district between Sen. Valencia Seay, a Riverdale Democrat, and Sen. Marty Harbin, a Republican, appears to run through rural Pike, Spalding, Fayette and Lamar counties. .

Jones ruled on November 2 that Xi and Harbin counties were not complying with the Voting Rights Act. Since 2010, the significant increase in the black population in Cobb, Fulton, Douglas, and Fayette counties has determined that it is sufficient to create one majority black congressional district or at least two majority black districts.

Wednesday, Georgia’s Senate and House chambers are scheduled to hold floor meetings at 10 a.m. to review the new maps, followed by public hearings at 1 p.m. As of Monday, a draft of the House’s proposed maps has not been released. The map presented by the Senate is available online and there may be written comments Provided by the public. .

According to Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia and author of “Redistricting: The Most Political Movement in America,” the proposed Senate map appears to meet the conditions set by the federal court in south metro Atlanta.

But Bullock said Democrats will have a chance to contest the maps before Jones, who must approve the redrawn districts before the 2024 election. There is now a 33 to 23 Republican advantage in the state Senate, and Republicans control nine of the state’s 14 congressional seats.

“Sometime after Dec. 8, the plaintiffs could argue before[Jones]that the maps are noncompliant,” Bullock said. “The government will have the opportunity to present evidence that this is what we did to follow the judge’s direction.”

Bullock said redrawn maps are often created with the intention of undermining the re-election bids of strong political opponents. Sometimes this means balancing tough decisions between members of the same party with strong leadership potential.

“Sometimes when you’re cutting a roster, you have to choose who has the best long-term prospects,” Bullock said. It’s similar to NFL teams where everyone has talent but not everyone can stay on the team.

James Woodall, the former president of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, criticized the proposed Senate lines on Monday, arguing that they would violate a court order designed to help black voters elect more representatives to the legislature. Black voters support Democrats at the ballot box.

Alicia Hughes, a visiting assistant professor at Emory University School of Law, believes the desegregation process in Georgia will draw attention beyond the state’s borders. As an example, she pointed to GOP lawmakers in Alabama who ignored a court order to draw a new congressional district with a large black population.

Hughes said it’s common practice to draw district maps to benefit a political party, but it can be problematic when those boundaries are changed by voting laws to protect the rights of minority voters.

“Looking at the tea leaves in Alabama, the smartest thing (legislators) can do is comply with the judge’s order,” said Hughes, interim executive director of Emory’s Center for Civil Rights and Social Justice. “You don’t want an appointed special master to do your job because you can’t do it yourself.”

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