After Black Georgia voters saw their voting power weakened by the newly drawn boundaries of three congressional districts, the Southern Poverty Law Center and its co-counsel filed a federal lawsuit challenging the racially gerrymandered districts on behalf of voting rights groups and Georgia voters.
The lawsuit charges that Georgia’s 6th, 13th and 14th congressional districts violate the Constitution and unlawfully diminish the power of voters of color. It describes how the newly drawn district maps violate the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by intentionally denying Black communities representation and therefore equal protection of the law. Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of Georgia and individual Georgia residents are plaintiffs.
The lawsuit highlights the long history of the white majority in Georgia using racial discrimination to maintain political power. The suit also underscores the fact that the federal government continually must step in to ensure maps do not violate federal law or the Constitution.
The complaint explains that state legislators “cracked” Georgia’s 6th Congressional District by siphoning away voters of color to other districts so that they were unable to elect their preferred candidate. Almost half of the voters in the district were removed, as state legislators expanded the district lines far into the exurbs to replace the district’s voters of color with white voters.
Black voters were packed into the 13th District, as the General Assembly pieced together Black communities in parts of six counties to create a district with a Black population that is much larger than necessary to elect candidates preferred by Black voters. By concentrating Black voters and other voters of color into the district, Black voting strength was reduced in other districts, according to the lawsuit.
Black communities in Cobb County were cracked into the largely rural, white, 14th District. Black voters were forced into a district that doesn’t reflect their community and will be represented by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is known for racist statements against her new constituents. As a result, these Black voters will face barriers to making their voices heard in their government.