The Republican-developed redistricting plan for the Augusta Commission and the Richmond County School Board passed the Georgia House on Thursday and is now heading to Gov. Brian Kemp’s office for a signature.
The map is strongly opposed by Democrats who liken it to statewide efforts to favor Republicans in local elections. Sen. Harold Jones, D-Augusta, said he expects the card to fail when considered in federal court because it violates the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits government efforts to remove black voting power.
The House vote passed 97 votes to 63 for the districts of the commission and in the same direction for the school board.
This map is different from the one approved last year by the majorities of the local redistricting committee, the Augusta Commission and the Richmond County School Board.
Previous cover:Augusta District Map Drawn By Senate Passes Committee Amid Opposition
This came after Senators Lee Anderson and Max Burns, Republicans who represent areas of Augusta, along with Rep. Mark Newton, R-Augusta, sought an alternative to the state dispatch office that doesn’t has not divided and relocated areas of the historic district of Summerville. and the community of Forest Hills, both majority white, from District 3 through Districts 1 and 2. Districts 1 and 2 have had large black majorities since consolidation.
Newton defended the map on the House floor Thursday, saying it reduced the number of divided communities while preserving black majorities on the commission and school board. “I know race has to be a consideration,” Newton said. “This card I’m offering does the exact same thing.”
The card drew at least two political candidates from their constituencies. One is school board incumbent AK Hasan in District 6, where Hasan said he was running for a commission this year. The other is Michael Gallucci, who was running for the school board seat in Hasan, District 6.
Newton said Hasan was moved “to preserve neighborhoods” and that Hasan had previously said he would not run for the school board again. Hasan withdrew from the committee election on Wednesday for unspecified reasons.
Gallucci said Thursday that the map leaves District 6 in a precarious position by removing all candidates running for office. “We are literally faced with a district without representation.”
Qualified candidates for the commission start on March 7 and must then have a card, election officials said, while without one candidates will have to run from their existing constituencies. School board qualification will not take place until later this year.
Local and state Democrats blasted the proposed map as ignoring domestic rule to force a GOP takeover.
The commission and the school board “have been hijacked,” said Rep. Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah. “I am absolutely outraged by what has happened in this body this year, in total disregard for autonomy and fairness.” The effort is “driven by fear that Republicans will lose power in rapidly diversifying communities,” she said.
Another part of the map serves to protect “a small number of white residents” in District 8, Frazier said.
She and others have referenced the Augusta map as well as counties such as Cobb, Gwinnett and Clarke as being targeted to undo Democratic gains.
In an appeal to his co-workers to stick to the local map, Rep. Brian Prince, D-Augusta, said it’s local black leaders who take calls about missed garbage pickups and other community issues. local government. “Just like you and me, they are elected,” he said.
Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta and chairman of the Augusta delegation, said no state lawmaker disrespects the leadership of the Dispatch Office, where Burns said a “junior employee” had created the locally approved map. “Like an intern drawing our map,” Howard said.
Using voting-age population figures, the House-approved map takes District 3, which was 44% black and 43% white in the 2020 census, and makes it 42% black and 46% white, Howard said.
Read more:Augusta Redistricting Committee Selects Map of Many Opposing Residents
“You’re flipping a majority-minority district and making it a majority-majority district and I don’t think that’s going to work.”
Across all ages, District 3 over the decade has become 41% white and 46% black. The local map makes it 38% white and 48% black, while the GOP map makes it 44% white and 44% black, according to The Chroniclethe analysis of. The numbers did not include other people of color, such as people of mixed race.
Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Atlanta, said she’s long known of the partisan games being played on both sides of the aisle, but the GOP is taking it too far. “It’s one thing to maneuver in politics and another thing to play in local law,” she said.
Democrats who have threatened lawsuits or may ask Kemp to veto the bill were on the floor Thursday and did not respond to requests for comment.
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Map created by writer Abraham Kenmore.
Keep reading:View our interactive maps for Georgia’s new legislative districts