Georgia lawmakers back at Capitol to redraw political maps to comply with Voting Rights Act – Georgia Recorder

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It’s back to Atlanta and it’s back to the drawing board for Georgia lawmakers, who are scheduled to hold a special session on Wednesday after a federal judge in 2016. They are going to hold a special meeting after deciding that the 2021 redistricting will not protect the rights of black voters.

Lawmakers hold another clue in creating a voter map for Georgia’s 14 congressional seats, 180 state representatives and 56 senators. What they produce will determine the state’s political balance after the 2030 U.S. Census until the next recount session. At this time, citizens can express their opinions. New page Read comments from other Georgians on the Legislature’s website as well.

at home

The state House released the proposed boundaries Tuesday afternoon on a map that seeks to create two majority-black districts, one in west metro Atlanta and two in nearby Macon-Bibb County. The order US District Court Judge Steve Jones last month.

In south metro Atlanta, District 117 in Henry County is set to have a roughly 61% black population, according to state numbers, with most of McDonough within its borders. District 74, which includes South Clayton and West Henry counties, would have a black population of about 64% if the maps are approved. HD 117 and 74 are represented by Republican Reps. Lauren Daniels and Karen Matiak.

In the west, HD 64’s boundaries are set to slide from western Douglas County to the southeastern part of the county, moving from 29% black to 51% black.

And in the Macon area, the proposed new House District 149 includes Baldwin, Jones and Bibb counties that are 50.98% black, while District 145 includes most of southwestern Bibb County and southern Monroe. County including the town of Forsyth.

The plan would redraw boundaries in Atlanta and other major metro counties, and the amendments would extend southeast beyond Bibb County and back into Houston, Peach and Crawford counties.

It appears to pit several incumbent lawmakers against each other, including Republican state Reps. Beth Camp of Concord and David Knight of Griffin.

The two issued a joint statement and expressed their displeasure with the decision, but both vowed to fight for re-election.

“I have the utmost respect for Rep. Knight and appreciate our working relationship,” Camp said. It is an honor to represent my constituents.

“I’m disappointed with the results of the new map that my friend and trusted colleague, Representative Base Camp, put in the new District 135,” said Prof. Knight. “Regardless of future election results, I know the constituents of Spalding, Pike and Lamar will be well represented.”

Democratic state Reps. Terry Anulewicz and Doug Stoner, both of Smyrna, are also paired in proposed HD 42, Anulewicz said.

Stoner in 2010 Before joining the House this year, Stoner dabbled in local government. In the year He won election to the Smyrna City Council in 2015, serving alongside Anulewicz, who was mayor pro tem.

Anulevich She dropped out to run for the seat vacated by Rep. Stacey Evans’ 2017 bid for governor. Stoner in 2010 He stepped down in 2018 after an unsuccessful run for the State Public Service Commission.

Senate

The state senate has a GOP majority Opening bid Monday will carry a map and say it upholds the law and is fair to all.

“Last month, Senate Redistricting Chair Shelley Echols (R-Gainesville) conducted a thoughtful, inclusive and transparent redistricting process,” the party’s leadership statement read. “Her top priority is to ensure that the new plan fully complies with Judge Jones’ order while preserving Georgia’s traditional values.”

The maps appear to shift Sens. Elena Parent and Justin Esteves, two prominent Atlanta Democrats, from majority white to majority black. Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Matt Brass of Newnan and Brian Strickland of McDonough look poised to win over many conservative-leaning white voters west of Atlanta.

Such a plan would likely comply with Justice Jones’ order — there are currently 33 Republican senators and 23 Democrats — but some observers worry that the lack of competition is bad for black voters and Democrats.

James Woodall, former president of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, said: “This map shows that many people do not want democracy or black voters to effectively vote for their candidates. “Creating safe districts for Democrats won’t give black voters VRA relief, nor court order.”

Senate Democrats opposed their own map that would have created two majority-black districts south of Atlanta, one in Fulton, Coweta and Fayette counties and one including all of Buttes County and the western half of Henry County.

The map proposed by Senate Democratic caucus Republicans doesn’t fix the violations Judge Jones described, but only brings black voters closer.

“Senate Democrats look forward to working with their Republican colleagues to pass a map that complies with the court order and the Voting Rights Act, and gives black voters in Georgia an equal opportunity to choose the candidate of their choice,” the caucus said in a statement. .

But with Republicans in control of both chambers and the governor’s mansion, the party can do little more than make suggestions. Jones’ order directs lawmakers to create a map that complies with the law, but it’s up to lawmakers to come up with a solution.

Congress

While the legislature’s decisions will shape the lives of Georgians for the next six years, it is the shape of the nation’s 14 congressional districts that will shape the nation during the session. Lawmakers have yet to file a congressional map.

With the US House currently controlled by a margin of eight Republican representatives, both parties are looking for any gains in the upcoming elections.

Jones found violations in several Georgia congressional districts.

“I think the congressional seats will get more attention — it will be interesting to see how the focus is on the 6th and 7th districts,” Gillespie said, “but the 9th, 11th and 14th will also affect how those lines are redrawn. I mean, who’s going to hold the seat isn’t going to change anytime soon, but I guess the question is, well, what does a redrawn 6th look like and where are they going to bring in new voters for that district?

Perhaps the most significant change from the first recount was the 6th District, then represented by Democrat Lucy McBat. Republicans have forced McBath to run against fellow Democrat Rep. Carolyn Bordo in the 7th District to support a conservative candidate.

McBat defeated Bordo in the primary and now represents the 7th District, while the current 6th District is represented by Republican Rich McCormick. The exchange reset the Georgia Congressional Party score to 9-5 in favor of the GOP from 7-6.

While racial bias is not allowed, it is safe from partisan gerrymandering, and Republicans will follow Jones’ letter and do their best to maintain a 9-5 balance.

“The challenge is when do you look like you’re going to legally pack blacks into a district?” Gillespie said. “It’s not legally. You can’t suddenly have an 80% black consolidated district. Those days are gone. That was rejected in Shaw and Reno in the mid-’90s. So what will these redistricting look like? That’s going to be a big question, but it’s all about maintaining partisan balance as much as possible.” They try to do something.

Still, Gillespie said, Georgia is unlikely to be a repeat of Alabama, as lawmakers failed to take steps to redraw their maps and the court appointed them. third party To do them. And some Georgia lawmakers hope a pending appeal of Jones’ order means they’ll get access to the old maps.

“I think there’s an attempt by the Republican Legislature to make a good-faith effort to put forward a two-pronged approach, trying to appeal to the court order and basically restore everything to the original districts,” she said. “Those are probably Plan A and Plan B, and I I think redeploying the special master lines is a far-fetched plan C, and their gamble is that they’ll at least get something out of cooperating while still maintaining their right to appeal. Guess what they want.



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