ATLANTA – Voting rights organizations and a group of Georgian voters filed a federal complaint on Friday challenging the new congressional constituency lines that the Republican-controlled General Assembly drew in a special session last fall .
The lawsuit claims that the new boundaries of Georgia’s 6th, 13th and 14th Congressional Districts illegally diminish the voting power of voters of color.
“The Georgia legislature has ‘cracked’ and ‘crammed’ communities of color onto the map of congressional districts, denying voters of color an equal vote in the election,” said Jack Genberg, senior counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This map must be corrected to avoid harming communities of color in Georgia for years to come.”
The legal challenge to the congressional card follows a lawsuit filed last month, making similar arguments in opposition to the state’s new House and Senate cards. Republican lawmakers have raised objections from legislative Democrats.
The retrial accuses the new congressional map of violating the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by intentionally denying black communities in Georgia representation and, therefore, equal protection under the law.
Specifically, the plaintiffs accuse the GOP legislative leaders of displacing voters of color from the 6th Congressional District of United States Democratic Representative Lucy McBath in the northern suburbs of Atlanta and replacing them with white voters. suburban and rural counties further north.
McBath, D-Marietta, responded to the changes by declaring her candidacy for the Congressional 7th District seat, pitting her against outgoing Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Lawrenceville, in the May Democratic primary.
On the flip side, according to the lawsuit, Republicans rallied black voters from six counties to pack the 13th Congressional District served by Representative David Scott, D-Atlanta, thereby reducing black voting power in surrounding districts. .
The lawsuit also opposes a late decision by the special redistribution session to draw voters from the predominantly black parts of Cobb County into the 14th congressional district of conservative Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome, which is made up mostly of rural white voters.
“Georgia’s political maps must reflect the interests of the people – not the politicians,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “These cards intentionally discriminate against Georgians of color by silencing our voices at the ballot box. “
The League of Women Voters is also a complainant in this case.
During the special session, Republicans spoke about the need to balance the populations of each Congressional constituency within a single voter by drawing a new map that should help the GOP build its majority in the Congressional delegation of Georgia 8-6 to 9-5.
State legislatures across the country redraw legislative and congressional maps every 10 years to reflect population changes reflected in the United States Decennial Census.