The Georgia Republican Legislature Leadership announced the newest version of the proposed Georgia Congressional Redistricting Map Friday, a month after a federal judge ruled the previous version of the map violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and discriminated against Black Georgia voters.
The new map would completely change the geographical and racial makeup of the current Seventh Congressional District, represented by Democrat Lucy McBath. The Seventh Congressional District, as currently drawn, includes a large portion of the Atlanta Metro area, including most of Gwinnett County and part of Fulton County. According to the US Census Bureau, the racial makeup of the current Seventh District is about 31 percent White, 30 percent Black and 13 percent Asian. The proposed Seventh District would move some of the current District Seven voters to District Six and include much of Dawson and Forsyth Counties. According to the US Census Bureau, Dawson County is 94.7 percent White, and Forsyth is 72.6 percent White. The new map would also likely create a 9-5 advantage for Georgia Republicans, who currently control the state’s legislature. It is unclear if the new map violates the October judge’s order.
McBath’s campaign manager, Jake Orvis, criticized the newly passed maps, telling local Atlanta News First (ANF), “Georgia Republicans have yet again attempted to subvert voters by changing the rules. Congresswoman McBath refuses to let an extremist few in the state legislature determine when her time serving Georgians in Congress is done.” Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns defended the new maps, telling ANF, “This map meets our promise when this process began. It fully complies with the judge’s order, while also following Georgia’s traditional redistricting principles. We look forward to passing this fair redistricting plan.”
The October 26th order from Judge Steve C. Jones of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division required the Georgia legislature to redraw an earlier version of the proposed Georgia Congressional map that does not dilute the voting power of Black Georgia voters. The order continued, stating that if the Georgia Legislature failed to create a map that didn’t violate Section 2, the court would create an alternative remedy. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded to the order by issuing a proclamation forcing the Georgia Legislature back into session to pass a new map.
Georgia is not the only state facing allegations of racial gerrymandering ahead of the 2024 US General Election. Tennessee, North Dakota, Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina have all faced legal challenges to proposed maps based on racial gerrymandering.