Georgia’s legislature will literally have to return to the drawing board after a federal court ruled that the state’s discriminatory congressional maps broke the law.
The new maps, which must be redrawn before the 2024 election, will be required to include one Black-majority federal congressional district, as well as two new Black-majority districts in Georgia’s state Senate and five new Black-majority districts in its House.
Thursday’s ruling consolidates three cases brought against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, which argued that Georgia’s political leaders were not adequately representing the Black communities that fueled the state’s population growth over the last decade.
In a 516-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones ruled against Raffensperger, deciding that the GOP-drawn maps violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Jones noted that although Georgia has made “great strides” in increasing the political opportunities of Black voters since the law was enacted, “the Court determines that in certain areas of the State, the political process is not equally open to Black voters.”
“For example, in the past decade, all of Georgia’s population growth was attributable to the minority population, however, the number of majority-Black congressional and legislative districts remained the same,” Jones wrote.
Other legal challenges to congressional maps are underway across the country, including in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah, reported the Associated Press.