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Georgia's redrawn maps add Black districts but not much representation

Mark Niesse and Maya T. Prabhu, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — When a judge ordered more majority-Black districts in Georgia, Republican legislators came up with a plan to entrench their political power by shuffling voters around and dividing them by race.

They added more majority-Black districts but put them in areas that often already have Black representation.

They whitewashed the district held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, transforming it from one that’s racially mixed, majority-minority to one that’s nearly two-thirds white.

They drew six Democratic state House representatives, most of them white, into three districts, forcing half of them out of office in next year’s elections. Two white Republicans were also paired together.

The result of Georgia’s new political maps is a Republican Party that will rely on districts dominated by white voters and little chance of partisan competition in next year’s general elections for Congress and the General Assembly.

Georgia lawmakers finished their court-ordered redistricting Thursday after a federal judge ruled that the state’s previous political boundaries illegally weakened representation for a rapidly growing population of Black voters.


Despite the judge ordering the Legislature to draw one additional congressional district and seven more state seats with a majority of Black voters, it’s unlikely they’ll get much more of a voice in districts polarized by race. Republican leaders acknowledged they considered partisan voting patterns when drawing the lines, which is legal.

The Democratic candidates that Black voters overwhelmingly support are unlikely to win many additional seats while Republicans will maintain their control of Georgia’s Capitol.

‘Racial polarization is politically beneficial’

The most protected class in the new maps are Republicans — and the white voters in Georgia that generally support them.


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