by Sarah Kallis, Georgia Recorder
December 28, 2023
U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones approved Georgia’s new congressional and legislative voting districts drawn by the state legislature.
Jones found Thursday that all three maps added majority-Black opportunity districts in the areas he identified in October, when he found that the maps drawn by the Legislature in 2021 diluted Black voting power.
The new maps maintain a Republican majority in the state House and Senate, as well as the state’s congressional delegation.
Jones called for a majority-Black congressional district in West metro Atlanta. The maps passed by the state legislature in 2023 added that district, but also changed voting districts in north metro Atlanta. The 7th District, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat, was re-drawn to be majority white instead of majority minority.
Plaintiffs in the original lawsuit asked Jones to reject the proposed new congressional map.
Abha Khanna, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, argued in a hearing on Dec. 20 that the revised 7th District could have created an additional Voting Rights Act violation. Jones ultimately overruled the plaintiffs, and said that he did not see evidence of an additional Voting Rights Act violation and that the lawsuit was concerned with Black voters, not all minority voters.
Jones also ordered in November for two additional majority-Black state Senate districts to be drawn in south metro Atlanta, along with three majority-Black House districts in the same area and two majority Black House districts near Macon. Plaintiffs also asked Jones to reject the legislative maps, saying that they do not make significant changes in the vote dilution area. Jones found that the new maps complied with court orders.
The new maps will be used in the 2024 election.
This story appears through a Georgia Recorder news partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting.
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