Georgia Republican Lawmakers Diluted Black Voting Power, Federal Judge Rules

Republican lawmakers in Georgia intentionally diluted Black voting power, a federal judge ruled today. 

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote a 516-page order that revealed how the lawmakers violated the Voting Rights Act. In turn, Georgia’s Congressional and state legislative districts must be redrawn before the 2024 election. Democrats could now gain a seat in the U.S. House and several seats in Georgia’s Legislature

In December 2021 following President Joe Biden’s victory, Republican lawmakers in Georgia used gerrymandering tactics to dilute Black voting power in the state. Although the Census revealed that Georgia had become more diverse, the voting maps would discriminated against Black voters in the state. 

Republican-controlled Legislature diluted Black voting power in Georgia by choosing to “‘pack’ some Black voters in the Atlanta metropolitan area and ‘crack’ other Black voters in rural-reaching, predominantly white districts.” 

ACLU’s Executive Director Andrea Young previosuly spoke with ADW about the lawsuit and its impact. 

“We fill out a Census every 10 years,” Young said. “And based on those numbers,  the Georgia Legislature redraws the district lines for congressional and State House and Senate districts. That happened in Georgia after the 2020 Census. After that Census,  the Black population grew by nearly half a million people. And the white population actually went down. But when the Legislature drew the new lines, they didn’t create any new districts where Black people could elect the legislator of their choice. And, in fact, they actually drew Congressional districts so that Lucy McBath, who is an African American woman representing the sixth district, was drawn out of her district in North Atlanta. So we along with other organizations filed a lawsuit challenging these districts under the Voting Rights Act. Recently, the Supreme Court had a ruling that Alabama actually does something similar.”

Young continued, “The situation in Georgia is actually worse than the situation in Alabama. Alabama population had actually been stable. Under the Voting Rights Act, section two, it did require Alabama to provide adequate representation for its African American citizens that it has failed to do so. There’s only one district out of seven in Alabama where African Americans can elect the candidate of their choice. The Supreme Court said there should be at least two and so that is really important precedent for our situation. We had testimony that states Georgia should have probably eight more districts that African Americans could elect the candidate of their choice.”

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