The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday filed a court challenge to Georgia’s new legislative and congressional district maps signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp, charging that the maps "deny Black voters an opportunity to elect representatives who will fight for them," reports The Augusta Chronicle.
"In the last decade, citizens who are Black drove Georgia’s significant population growth, yet the General Assembly failed to draw district lines that would allow these new voters to elect their preferred leaders," the ACLU said in a statement.
"In particular, the General Assembly could have drawn at least a half-dozen new Black-majority state Senate or state House districts in the southern and eastern parts of the Atlanta metro region, the Augusta area, and the Southwest Georgia area. Yet the General Assembly failed to do so, diluting the true voting strength of voters who are Black."
Kemp signed new maps for Georgia's congressional delegation, state Senate, and state House into law Thursday.
The new districts are designed to increase the number of Republicans in Georgia's 14-member congressional delegation from eight to nine, turning the suburban Atlanta 6th District now held by Democrat Rep. Lucy McBath into a strongly Republican district.
The state Senate map is projected to keep 59%, or 33, of the Senate’s 56 seats in GOP hands. That’s down from 34 right now. The state House map is projected to keep 54% of House seats, or 98 of 180, in Republican hands. That's down from 103 Republicans now.
Democrats say the new lines, especially for Congress and the state Senate, grab too much power for Republicans, considering President Joe Biden carried Georgia with a narrow majority last year and two Democrat senators won seats in January.
The Southern Poverty Law Center also issued a statement against the bill Thursday, reading, in part:
"One of the most striking examples of this is the 6th district, where the state legislature has stripped minority voters out of the district and dispersed them among other districts in attempt to unseat one of the 5 Black representatives from Georgia. Now, despite an increase in populations of Black Georgians from 31% of the population to 33%, they will have fewer representatives, not more."
The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund filed suit challenging all three maps.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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