Federal decide guidelines Georgia congressional maps violate Voting Rights Act and should be redrawn – JURIST

A decide for the US District Court docket for the Northern District of Georgia ordered Georgia’s Basic Meeting to redraw the state’s enacted Congressional Districts Thursday, discovering the districts had been in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The 516-page opinion covers three consolidated instances: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity v. Raffensperger and Grant v. Raffensperger, which each problem Georgia’s state legislative districts, and Pendergrass v. Raffensperger, which challenges Georgia’s state Congressional districts.

Amongst a number of different components, comparable to partisan choice and demographic modifications, the opinion discusses how Georgia has closed greater than 200 polling places since 2012, regardless of its Black inhabitants rising considerably in that interval. The 9 counties within the Atlanta metro space account for almost half of Georgia’s registered voters, however solely 38 p.c of the state’s polling locations. The court docket wrote that “white voters constantly bloc voted to defeat the candidates supported by Black voters,” and “[b]ecause voting is starkly polarized on the whole elections, with out drawing districts that present Black voters with a possibility to elect [their candidate of choice] districts within the areas examined won’t elect Black-preferred candidates.”

The court docket discovered that plaintiffs in Alpha Phi Alpha and Grant had met their burden of exhibiting a violation of part 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that the Alpha Phi Alpha proved that the electoral system was not equally open to Black voters. The court docket ordered Georgia to redraw their districts by December 8, 2023, saying “if a suitable treatment isn’t produced, there will probably be time for the Court docket to style one—because the Court docket won’t permit one other election cycle on redistricting plans that the Court docket has decided on a full trial file to be illegal.”

Georgia isn’t the primary southern state ordered to redraw their congressional maps this 12 months. Alabama was ordered to redraw its congressional maps when federal judges discovered their maps violated part 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Alabama appealed to the US Supreme Court docket, failed to get a favorable decision, unsuccessfully appealed to the US Supreme Court docket a second time, and ended up having a panel of three federal judges select their maps.

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