Georgia Gerrymandering Tour: Redistricting in GA 101 was a statewide educational tour surrounding the issues and solutions to help alleviate gerrymandering. The meetings focused on the problems with gerrymandering in Georgia, solutions at both the state and local levels, and how citizens can become protectors of democracy in their own communities.
What Is Redistricting?
Every 10 years after the census, the boundaries for legislative districts at every level of government must be redrawn to make sure districts have equal population and reflect demographic changes. Redistricting is an important process that ensures fair and equal representation for the people.
In Georgia, a clear conflict of interest exists. State legislators draw their own districts and congressional boundaries, which is just like letting the fox guard the henhouse. Too often, legislators put partisan politics ahead of the rights of the people by manipulating districts for political advantage. Using voting histories and personal data on Georgians, politicians work with partisan political consultants behind closed doors to slice and dice communities and rig districts for the entire decade.
Georgia: 2016 “People’s No Choice Award” Winner
The Georgia General Assembly was wildly successful in using redistricting to protect its own power by eliminating political competition.
When a legislative map is drawn for partisan advantage, many districts may be so out of reach for one party that it does not even bother to field a candidate. As a result, voters are denied real choices at the ballot box. As detailed in Common Cause’s Restoring Voter Choice report:
- Five of Georgia’s congressional incumbents ran unopposed in November.
- 81% of Georgia General Assembly districts had only one major party candidate on the November ballot, the highest percentage of any state.
- 82% of Georgia General Assembly campaigns for an open seat had only one major party candidate on the ballot.
- 56% of General Assembly campaigns were over even before the primary because only one person from a major party (one Democrat and no Republicans or one Republican and no Democrats) filed to run.
The Great (Attempted) Gerrymander of 2017
Too often politicians think that districts belong to them for use as political fiefdoms. They forget that districts belong to the people to ensure fair representation. Legislators have attempted to “redistrict” individual districts to protect incumbents. Last year, incumbents in House Districts 40 and 111 attempted to move voters into and out of their districts because of their race. Although citizens fought back and prevented this illegal racial gerrymander, using Georgians as pawns in a partisan political game is only possible because politicians control redistricting.
What you can do
This campaign plan and sample resolution language will give you everything you need to help pass a local resolution against gerrymandering in your community.