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Southern Poverty Law Center Condemns Georgia State Legislature for Weaponizing Redistricting to Diminish Political Power of Communities of Color

ATLANTA – Today the Georgia State Senate passed new maps for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners with a new, predominantly White voting-age population district. The current Gwinnett County Commission is comprised entirely of people of color, including four Black Commissioners and one Asian American Commissioner. Politicians in the state legislature are using similar tactics to draw maps for the Cobb County School Board and Cobb County Board of Commissioners, scheduled to be voted on by the legislature in the next two weeks.

The following statement is from Poy Winichakul, Staff Attorney for Voting Rights with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):

“Politicians in the Georgia state legislature are mounting a brazen attack on Gwinnett and Cobb local governments with maps that entrench a white majority, despite a waning white population and people of color representing a growing majority in both counties. These anti-voter politicians are “cracking” communities of color across multiple districts or “packing” people of color into fewer districts, so they are denied equal representation to advocate for how resources are allocated, and communities are governed. 

“State legislators have now passed a map for the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners that denies communities of color their fair share of districts. Not satisfied with that, the legislature is currently considering maps for the Cobb County School Board and Board of Commissioners that would similarly diminish the political power of communities of color. 

“While weaponizing redistricting against communities of color, state legislators have simultaneously diminished the political power of local communities by refusing to allow adequate chance for public input on these maps. Gwinnett county strongly objected to the legislature’s first attempt to weaponize redistricting and force the Board of Commissioners out of fair representation for communities of color. Now state level politicians, have even broken their own rules and long-established precedent to bypass local committees and pass maps without any meaningful input from the communities those maps represent.

“As an organization committed to defending the right to equal representation for everyone, SPLC will do everything in our power to prevent the Georgia state legislature from diminishing the political power of communities of color through these maps. We encourage all advocates for democracy to stand with us and make their voices heard by opposing these maps that dilute the political power of Georgians based on their race.”