ATLANTA — A federal judge ruled on Thursday that Georgia’s redrawn congressional maps violate a section of the Voting Rights Act.
The Georgia General Assembly approved the maps back in 2021 and were signed by Gov. Brian Kemp. The maps shifted the Republican edge from 8-6 to 9-5.
A series of lawsuits were filed against the state of Georgia arguing that the redrawn maps illegally discriminate against minorities and take away their voting power.
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Governor Brian Kemp issued a proclamation on Thursday afternoon calling for a special session of the Georgia General Assembly on Nov. 29 to revisit laws relating to the state’s districts.
“Today was a victory for the voters not just of Georgia, but of the country,” Rep. Nikema Williams said.
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was there in 2021 when the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed the new maps. Republican State Senator John Kennedy assured Elliot that the current maps are good.
“We got a good map here. It’s going to be good for the state, good for the citizens,” he said.
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On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled that the maps did violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Georgia General Assembly now has until December 8, 2023 to enact new maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act.
“The Court is confident that the General Assembly can accomplish its task by DECEMBER 8, 2023: the General Assembly enacted the Plans quickly in 2021; the Legislature has been on notice since at least the time that this litigation was commenced nearly 22 months ago that new maps might be necessary; the General Assembly already has access to an experienced cartographer; and the General Assembly has an illustrative remedial plan to consult,” Jones wrote in his conclusion.
Read the judge’s full ruling below:
Georgia State University constitutional law professor Anthony Michael Kreis says the judge is ordering the maps to be redrawn.
“The voting power for Black voters has been diluted even though the number of Black voters in the state of Georgia has increased,” Kreis explained.
Elliot reached out for comments from the offices of Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, Georgia Speaker of the House Jon Burns and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but did not hear back.
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