Voting rights advocates within and beyond Georgia ramped up calls for congressional action after the Peach State’s Republican lawmakers became the latest to approve a gerrymandered political map intended to give the GOP a political advantage for the next decade.
The following are some examples similar movesIn the state legislatures controlled by the GOP Ohio TexasThe Georgia General Assembly sent a new congressional map to Republican Gov. Brain Kemp, who is expectedIt must be signed into law. These redistricting efforts were made as right-wingers in an evenly divided U.S. Senate block several voting rights bills, and a few Democrats. refuseTo support the killing of the filibuster.
The Georgia GOP’s map is designed to increase the number of congressional districts the party controls from eight to nine, leaving Democrats with just five. According toAn analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Though Georgia’s voters are split between the two political parties, none of the state’s 14 congressional districts would be competitive.”
It’s not just the new congressional districts that serve Georgia’s GOP. Democracy Docket noted that “the state House and Senate maps… were criticized by Democrats for cementing a Republican advantage in the General Assembly and failing to account for the growth of Georgia’s minority population.”
Common Cause Georgia executive director Aunna Dennis said in a statement Monday that “when the redistricting process is led by the politicians, the maps will be drawn to benefit the politicians — and that’s exactly what state legislators have done today.”
“While these maps might be beneficial to the politicians in power, they are a complete disgrace to the voters of Georgia,” Dennis declared. “None of the maps accurately reflect the changing population of our state.”
“Our preliminary analysis shows that despite population growth in the state being driven largely by Black, Latinx, and Asian populations, and despite the state’s share of the white population decreasing by about 5% from 2010 to 2020, the amount of majority-BIPOC districts in these proposed maps have extremely marginal increases,” she noted. “In fact, the new congressional map decreases the amount of majority-Black districts from the former district map.”
Dennis said the maps were “intentionally designed to silence” communities of color and accused state leaders of continuing “to ignore the voters throughout the entire process.” She also reiterated her group’s support for independent redistricting commissions, saying that “district lines need to be drawn putting the interests of people, not politicians, first.”
The Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia Rep. Mariam Paris (D-142) said the new district lines endanger two Democratic Black women in the state’s congressional delegation, Congresswomen Nikema Williams and Lucy McBath.
“At a time when women are already underrepresented, particularly women of color, we should not be drawing maps that target women incumbents to make it harder for them to run and win in new districts,” Paris said during the House debate. “But the map before us today does exactly that.”
The newspaper details:
The map changes McBath’s Democratic-leaning District. It is now more Republican, as it extends north from Atlanta to conservative strongholds in Forsyth or Dawson counties. McBath won reelection last year with 55% of the vote, but under the new map, Republican voters would outnumber Democrats by 15 percentage points in next year’s elections, according to the AJC’s analysis.
McBath won election to the 6th Congressional District in 2018. He was elected in an area that was once a Republican bastion. Newt Ginrich, who became speaker and led the GOP’s 1994 takeover of the U.S. House. Now, the district is poised for Republican representation.
McBath — whose 17-year-old son was shot and killed in 2012 by a man who confronted him about the volume of his music — said Monday that Kemp, the Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) “will not have the final say on when I am done fighting for my son.”
The GOP couldn’t beat me, so they redrew the lines.
Here is what they didn’t account for: Brian Kemp, the NRA, and the GOP will not have the final say on when I am done fighting for my son.
— Lucy McBath (@lucymcbath) November 22, 2021
Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams — a Democrat who formerly served as minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives and narrowly lost the gubernatorial race to Kemp in 2018 — suggested in a series of tweets Monday that the new map shows the GOP is struggling to compete in the state.
“The bill will be eagerly signed by a man who has spent more than a decade using his status to disempower voters of color and intimidate the groups and individuals who organize them,” Abrams said. “But neither Lucy McBath nor Georgia’s organizers and voters of color will give up so easily.”
As the GOP continues to move backwards, every R under the Gold Dome supported a Congressional map designed to remove a black Congresswoman who took on the NRA after she lost her son, simply because they know they can’t compete in Georgia’s suburbs. #gapol
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 22, 2021
President Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia in 2020 — prompting then-President Donald Trump to pressure Kemp to call a special election and to ask Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” over 11,000 votes, moves that ledFulton County Criminal Investigations
Mother Jones’ Ari Berman, who wrote the book Give us the ballot: The modern struggle for voting rights in America, noted Monday that the new congressional map gives Republicans “64% of seats in state Biden won with 49.5%.”
Berman voiced frustration with the U.S. senators, pointing out that the Georgia map is part a national trend of GOP lawmakers trying to give Republican congressional candidate clear advantages. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Kyrsten Sinema, (D-Ariz.), refuse to support the elimination of the filibuster in order to pass federal voting rights protections.
“It’s beyond enraging that Manchin and Sinema continue to say voting rights legislation needs 60 votes when [the]GOP [is] rigging elections and shutting Dems out of power for next decade on simple majority party-line votes,” he said, calling it “total asymmetric warfare.”
“Republicans are erasing decades of long-fought gains for voters of color, returning parts of the South to a pre-1965 status quo where conservative whites have effectively denied political representation to previously disenfranchised communities of color” https://t.co/kbsXzSVAK1
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 22, 2021
Calls for Senate Democrats to scrap the filibuster have mounted as the chamber’s Republicans have blocked the For the People Act, Freedom to Vote Act, John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Monday Evening labeled the United States a “backsliding” democracy.
“Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). “Today’s partisan redistricting decision at Georgia’s State Capitol undermines voters’ voices and harms our democracy.”
“Congress must pass federal voting rights legislation,” he added. “We can’t wait any longer.”