ATLANTA – Today the U.S. Census Bureau publicly released critical data that will be essential in the Georgia General Assembly’s decennial redistricting process. Yesterday, the last town hall opportunity for the public to offer input into the redistricting process was held in Augusta. In that and prior hearings, today's data as well as any redistricting guidelines specific to Georgia's future were unavailable to view and analyze.
To view the SPLC’s most comprehensive written testimony to the Georgia General Assembly to date that was submitted on July 30, please visit: https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/7.30_ga_redistricting_testimony.pdf
To view the SPLC’s most recent written testimony to the Georgia General Assembly on additional procedural issues and testimony of other town hall speakers that was submitted on August 11, please visit: https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/8.11_ga_redistricting_testimony.pdf
The following statement is by Jack Genberg, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center:
“If all levels of government are to be responsive to the needs of Georgians in education, health care, and infrastructure for the next ten years, the state needs a community-based districting process.
“So far in this process, the leaders of the Georgia legislature have shown a disdain for the public and their needs. They’ve run a sham process.
“Legislators scheduled all community meetings on redistricting to occur before the relevant census data was actually released, even going so far as to move up the final meeting in Augusta from August 30 to August 11, the day before the census data release date. They released no guidelines in advance for how the redistricting process will occur, so the public could not comment on that either.
“Legislators made these pre-data, pre-guideline meetings inaccessible to wide swaths of Georgians whose first language is not English, Georgians with mobility issues and other disabilities, those who are hearing impaired, and people unable to attend in-person events during a resurging pandemic or because of work or family obligations.
“This sham process needs a total overhaul if Georgians are going to have government representation responsive to their needs for the next decade. Following the release of today’s data, the legislature must provide opportunities for substantive, meaningful public input, and those opportunities must be accessible to all Georgians.”