A federal judge’s ruling Thursday requires the state legislature to try to unite majority Black and Democratic neighborhoods into one, self-contained district.
POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s almost one year before the 2024 elections, and there is now an increased chance that Georgia may come out of those elections with at least one more Democrat in Congress.
That’s because a federal judge ruled Thursday that the state’s Congressional and Legislative District maps, as they exist now, violate the Voting Rights Act.
So the judge ordered the state to redraw the district maps right away, to give Black and Democratic voters a better chance at electing representatives of their choice to the General Assembly and the U.S. House.
One area, in particular, caught the judge’s attention — southwest Cobb County, including the City of Powder Springs.
The city is flourishing, and it’s majority Black.
And the judge ruled that the state legislature was wrong when it carved up the majority Black neighborhoods in and around southwest Cobb County, splitting them up into the adjacent majority-white Congressional districts.
Suddenly, residents could no longer vote in Democrat David Scott’s majority Black district.
Instead, suddenly, conservative Trump-supporter Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene was their representative in Congress.
They were now in the minority in their new district. Their votes barely counted.
Powder Springs resident, and voter, Shamel Washington said he was “shocked” when he found out his city was placed in Greene’s district.
“I thought it was wrong, and it should be corrected,” Washington said Thursday, happy to hear about the judge’s ruling.
“She (Greene) does not represent me in Congress,” Washington said. “No, if it were up to my vote, she wouldn’t have gotten it.”
The judge ordered the Republican-led legislature to try to redraw the district maps in a way that unites majority Black and Democratic neighborhoods in the SW Cobb County region into a self-contained Congressional District, in time for the 2024 elections.
Voter Quenice Knight said in Powder Springs, Thursday evening, “Finally! I don’t think that that was a good idea to split it up like that, I think that we need to be represented by districts that basically represent us, and they can be our voice.”
The judge ruled that if the legislature does not reconfigure the Congressional Districts according to the provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act, then he will redraw the maps himself.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Knight said, “for us to be able to pick and choose and have our say-so in the matter. So, yeah–appropriately represented.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has called the legislature into a Special Session to begin November 29, to redraw the Congressional and Legislative Districts according to the judge’s order, in time for the judge’s deadline of Dec. 8.
But there is a chance the state may appeal the judge’s ruling, which could delay the whole process—and keep southwest Cobb County in Greene’s district beyond next year.