Eric Holder & John Lewis: Breaking down gerrymandering’s 21st century injustice
Here in Georgia – the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – the legislature has methodically and deliberately gerrymandered districts to disenfranchise African-American voters, intentionally drawing state legislative lines on the basis of race to create safer Republican districts.
Today, we’re taking a step to change that. The National Redistricting Foundation is supporting Georgia voters who are bringing a lawsuit to challenge the state legislature’s 2015 redistricting plan on the grounds that it violates the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. This lawsuit builds on recent successes in North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas, where courts have overturned unlawful racial gerrymandering.
Redistricting is supposed to take place every 10 years, after the Census. But in 2015, Georgia legislators passed a mid-cycle redistricting bill to quash the voting power of minorities in the Atlanta suburbs, where elections are increasingly competitive. House Bill 566 moved minority voters in and out of House Districts predominantly based on the color of their skin. In addition, the legislature’s mid-cycle redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to draw additional districts in which African-American voters could elect the representative of their choice. Without these unlawful efforts to dilute the vote of African-Americans, there would likely be at least three additional African-American representatives in the Georgia state house.
Read more: Atlanta Journal Constitution, October 3, 2017