Voters weigh in on need to include growing groups in GA's redistricting
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
In just over a week on Nov. 29, state lawmakers will return to Atlanta to decide on Georgia's new congressional voting district maps. Grassroots organizations focused on voting access are stressing the importance of the process.
In October, a federal judge ruled the state's 2021 maps diluted the voting power of Black residents and violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
April Albright, national legal director for Black Voters Matter, emphasized the decision is crucial in promoting equity for often overlooked communities.
"Our communities don't get that infrastructure," Albright observed. "We see it in our education and we see it in our roads, and we see it in economic opportunities in the form of opportunity districts, where the state makes a decision about how much money they're going to provide as subsidy to invite industries to come and create businesses."
The judge's ruling called for lawmakers to create an extra congressional district in west-metro Atlanta with a majority-Black population. It also calls for two new majority-Black Senate districts in south-metro Atlanta, two majority-Black House districts in south-metro Atlanta, and two in and around Macon-Bibb.
Albright pointed out the significant population shifts in the South over the past decade, which highlight the need for people to have the option to vote for candidates who truly represent their beliefs. As voting districts are being updated and challenged throughout the South, she stressed the importance of safeguarding democracy.
"We've got to keep our eyes on the prize," Albright urged. "We've got to understand the power of the 'drip, drip,' organizing all year around issues that matter to us. And if we do that, then it doesn't matter what the courts will do. We know that we can still bring the changes that we want."
Census figures show Georgia's population has surged by more than 1 million since 2010, with significant increases in Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents, particularly in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
The ruling in Georgia comes after a historic decision in Alabama to create two majority and near-majority Black voting districts.
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