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Redrawn Georgia Congressional Map Extends GOP Influence

Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office
Georgia’s Democratic 7th District gets pushed north into right-leaning counties.

A federal judge on Thursday, Dec. 28 approved new Georgia congressional and legislative voting districts that protect Republican party advantages. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones claimed that the introduction of new majority-Black voting districts addressed the illegal minority vote dilution that prompted him to revise maps.

The newly designed congressional map will divide Georgia’s 9th District, which includes portions of Hall County currently represented by U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Athens).

State Sen. Shelly Echols (R-Alto), chair of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, said the revision occurred after a federal district court judge decided that the previous congressional map violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

District 7 now encapsulates all of Flowery Branch along with the southern and western boundaries of Hall County.

“Originally, the map they showed me had the line pretty much straight down the middle of Hall County, splitting Gainesville,” Echols said, “so I was able to swap some Flowery Branch areas for Gainesville areas – just so that Flowery Branch is kept as whole as possible in their representation, and Gainesville is kept as whole as possible in their representation.”

Lawmakers were directed to redraft the map, which defined District 6 in west Atlanta as predominantly Black and relocated Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s District 7 further north to include Dawson County, Lumpkin County, and portions of west and south Hall County.

With her district being redrawn into areas with a large Republican majority, McBath has announced her desire to campaign for the newly created District 6 seat west of Atlanta. U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Cumming) will now run for District 7.

This would be McBath’s second consecutive election in a new district. The first came in 2022 after the district she had won was redrawn to benefit Republicans. McBath said in a statement that she will not “allow an extremist few Republicans to decide when my work in Congress is finished.”

Democrats have already indicated that they will seek to challenge the revised maps in court. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is involved in several of the lawsuits challenging Georgia’s congressional and legislative lines.

“The Republican-proposed congressional map is yet another attempt to defy federal district court orders enforcing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act at the expense of Georgia’s voters.” – Marina Jenkins, National Democratic Redistricting Committee Executive Director

While Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act protects minority voters, it does not prevent Republicans from intervening in Democratic-held districts with white majorities or where no ethnic group is in the majority. This exception allowed Georgia Republicans to redraw maps while only losing a few seats to Democrats.

Judge Jones dismissed concerns that the new maps do not go far enough to aid Black voters. Jones stated that he cannot interfere with legislative decisions, even if Republicans seek to protect their power.

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Chaz Mullis
Chaz Mullis, Staff Editor
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