With Republican hopes for a legislative supermajority in jeopardy, Georgia’s GOP lawmakers passed HB 566 in 2015, which removed 946 black voters from Strickland’s district and implanted 590 new white voters. In his closest election yet, Strickland defeated Democratic challenger Darryl Payton by 946 votes in 2016.
Payton and 10 other African Americans are now plaintiffs in the first federal lawsuit by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s new group, the National Redistricting Foundation, which will challenge Republican reapportionment efforts it sees as overly partisan or racially motivated in the run-up to the 2018 elections.
The suit claims Strickland’s re-drawn district and another, Georgia House District 105, were illegal racial gerrymanders designed to dilute African American voting power and empower white incumbents in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The foundation, which is backed by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will also challenge challenge questionable legislative and congressional maps drawn after the 2020 census.