Kemp signs new district cards for Georgia lawmakers | Georgia News

By JEFF AMY, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – Governor Brian Kemp on Thursday signed new cards for the Georgia Congressional delegation, State Senate and State House, paving the way for a likely lawsuit challenging the cards even as candidates are preparing to run under the new lines.

The new districts are designed to increase the number of Republicans in Georgia’s 14-member congressional delegation from eight to nine, transforming the 6th district in suburban Atlanta now owned by Democratic Representative Lucy McBath into a strongly Republican district. McBath has previously announced that she will travel to the new 7th District in Gwinnett and Fulton Counties, which has been made much more Democratic, to launch a main challenge against fellow Democratic Representative from the United States, Carolyn Bourdeaux.

The state Senate card is expected to keep 59%, or 33, of the 56 Senate seats in the hands of the GOP. This is down from 34 now. The State House card is expected to keep 54% of the House seats, or 98 out of 180, in the hands of Republicans. That’s down from 103 Republicans now.

Republican Kemp’s decision to delay signing the cards cuts the time for a trial before candidates qualify in March and voting begins before the May 24 party primaries. The short period could allow the state to ask a judge to postpone a ruling until the 2022 election goes according to the cards Kemp signed.

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Democrats say the new lines, especially for Congress and the state Senate, are taking on too much power for Republicans, given that President Joe Biden won Georgia with a slim majority last year and that two Democratic senators won seats in January.

Critics also allege that the cards violate federal voting rights law by unnecessarily dividing minority populations, especially because non-whites make up most of the new Georgians added in the past decade.

For the past decade, the United States Supreme Court has ruled out challenges based on partisan gerrymandering. But although the court overturned the requirement that Georgia and other areas with a history of racial discrimination obtain preclearance for new district cards from the United States Department of Justice, the way remains open for people to sue. a lawsuit alleging racial bias after lawmakers passed the cards.

Republicans say they were careful to follow the dictates of the voting rights law. They also note that their maps divide fewer counties.

Fair Districts Georgia, a group that analyzed the cards for the purpose of preventing gerrymandering, said the three cards would have fewer districts where each side would have a chance to win than under the current lines.

The General Assembly must redraw electoral districts at least once every ten years to equalize populations after the US census. Georgia added more than one million people from 2010 to 2020, with urban districts generally growing and rural districts generally shrinking.

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