Federal district court overturns Georgia’s congressional, legislative district maps

On Oct. 26, a federal judge with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that Georgia’s congressional and legislative district boundaries violated the Voting Rights Act and enjoined the state from using them for future elections. The court directed the Georgia General Assembly to develop new maps by Dec. 8.

In his order, Judge Steve C. Jones wrote, “After conducting a thorough and sifting review of the evidence in this case, the Court finds that the State of Georgia violated the Voting Rights Act when it enacted its congressional and legislative maps. The Court commends Georgia for the great strides that it has made to increase the political opportunities of Black voters in the 58 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Despite these great gains, the Court determines that in certain areas of the State, the political process is not equally open to Black voters.”

The decision came in a consolidated lawsuit filed by the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, Common Cause, and several other groups and individual voters challenging the congressional and legislative district boundaries that the state enacted in 2021 after the 2020 census. The plaintiffs alleged that the maps constituted a racial gerrymander in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In their complaint, the plaintiffs argued that the maps “deliberately targeted Black, Latinx, and AAPI Georgians and moved them into and out of districts to deny them equal opportunities to elect candidates of their choice, splitting communities of interest, and ensuring safe districts where White voters can elect their candidates of choice.”

As a result of the 2022 elections, Republicans won eight U.S House districts and Democrats won six.

Additional reading:

United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

United States House of Representatives elections in Georgia, 2022