It’s unclear whether the redrawn map will hold up in court. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones scheduled a Dec. 20 hearing, with a ruling expected soon afterward. If Jones rejects the map, he could appoint a special master to create districts that comply with his ruling.
“I feel like the districts we’ve drawn are good for everybody. We’re complying with the judge’s order, we’re increasing the representation of the districts in which Black Georgians have an opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice,” said Redistricting Chairman Rob Leverett, a Republican from Elberton. “I’m hopeful we’ll be using these maps for the next round of elections.”
Democrats said the congressional map fails to provide greater representation for Black voters, who overwhelmingly support their party. White voters in Georgia generally back Republicans.
“We want to make sure that people have an opportunity to vote for their representation so they’re not disenfranchised,” said state Rep. Kimberly Alexander, a Democrat from Hiram.
After Jones rules on the new map, the case could be appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court. Court decisions will ultimately determine districts and representation for Georgia in next year’s elections.
The Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly already passed new maps this week for the state House and Senate, where Jones required seven new districts with Black majorities.
The Senate districts were shaped in a way to protect every incumbent, safeguarding Republicans’ 33-23 lead. Under the House map, where Republicans have a 102-78 advantage, Democrats could gain two seats.