Democrats on Monday accused Republicans of drawing the maps in secret, while state Republicans blamed local officials for not coming to a bipartisan consensus on redistricting.
“I regret that it has come to this point,” said Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), who sponsored the Cobb map. But he defended his proposal, saying it “reflects the political composition of the county” by keeping in place today’s 3-2 Democratic majority.
To do so, it makes drastic changes to the two districts that cover the eastern half of the county. It would draw Democrat Jerica Richardson out of her seat in District 2 and shift more conservative voters into District 3 to shore up the re-election chances of Republican JoAnn Birrell.
House Republicans also approved school redistricting maps backed by the Republican-led school board. If the bills are approved by the state Senate and signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, they are sure to be contested in court.
State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta) said the commission map could violate the Voting Rights Act by packing racial minorities into two districts and diluting their voting power. By drawing Richardson out of her district, it could also run afoul of a state law that prohibits lawmakers from ending an elected official’s term prematurely without voter consent. Commissioners are required to live in the district they represent.
“This will be litigated in court — and that cost will be passed on to the voters of Cobb County,” Nguyen said.