A child looks over redistricting maps during a 2011 public hearing. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Dems ask voters about redistricting – and challenge GOP to do same  

State Republican chair responds: Thanks, but no thanks

Georgia Democrats will ask primary voters whether they support allowing an independent nonpartisan commission to redraw state legislative lines – and urged state Republicans to put the same question on GOP ballots. 

Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter said he issued the challenge because “it’s in the best interest of voters and our very democracy” to let an independent panel draw the lines. 

“The dangers posed in gerrymandering know no party affiliation and silence the voice of voters. Together, both parties can lead by example,” he said, adding: “Georgia Democrats believe that we all will be pleasantly surprised with the results.”

Gov. Nathan Deal said he would reluctantly sign a tax bill. The deal cuts the state income tax and strips Delta Air Lines of a lucrative break. Senate Republicans voted to strip a $50 million jet fuel tax break from the bill. The break was removed after Delta severed ties with the NRA. Deal said he wanted to vote for general cuts and would still seek a tax break for Delta.

Georgia GOP chair John Watson brushed off the request. 

“We'll go right ahead and add a note to our file of other unsolicited election advice provided by the Democratic Party,” he said.

Georgia Democrats have long pushed legislation to take the power to draw district lines away from the Legislature and hand it to a commission

Those efforts have gained no traction in the statehouse, though several pending legal challenges could upend the way legislative districts are drawn across the nation. 

The other questions on the Democratic ballot reflect the party’s election-year priorities. 

There’s a question about blocking the sale of bump stocks, the mechanism used by the Las Vegas gunman who carried out one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Another query asks whether Democratic voters support expanding Medicaid. And a third questions whether Georgia should invest “a substantial amount” of public dollars for mass transit. 

Here are all four questions that will appear on the May Democratic ballot: 

  1. Should the sale and distribution of bump stocks be prohibited in the state of Georgia?
  2. Should Georgia pull down our federal tax dollars to save rural hospitals and create more than fifty thousand jobs by expanding Medicaid?
  3. Should Georgia allow voters to elect our own representatives by amending our Constitution to place the power of drawing district lines under the authority of an independent, non-partisan commission?
  4. Should Georgia alleviate traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and better connect communities by investing a substantial amount of existing tax dollars in mass transit?

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.