Lawsuit claims GA House districts drawn to remove minority voters

Voters opposed to a 2015 redistricting plan have filed a second federal lawsuit claiming that Georgia illegally "gerrymandered" two state House districts by moving minority voters out of areas represented by two vulnerable white Republican lawmakers.

The suit, filed Tuesday by 11 voters who live in and around those districts, claims that the districts of state Reps. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, and Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, were redrawn two years ago to increase the percentage of white voters in their districts to protect both incumbents.

Chandler’s District 105 seat and Strickland’s District 111 have been two of the most competitive in the 180-member House. Both districts’ boundaries were changed in 2015 when lawmakers passed House Bill 566, which also adjusted the lines of 15 other districts.

The lawsuit claims the bill “specifically targets districts where white Republicans have become increasingly vulnerable to challenge by African-American Democratic candidates, moving voters in and out of House districts based on their race so as to shore up the incumbent Republicans’ prospects in future elections.”

The suit follows one filed in April by the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which also targeted the 2015 redistricting effort over the same two districts.