Today, the US Census Bureau released the statewide population numbers that determine congressional apportionment. Georgia will continue to have 14 congressional districts for the next decade.
Statement of Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia
Even though our number of congressional districts remains the same, we know that Georgia has undergone significant population shifts in the past decade.
Based on voter registration and turnout data, we know that communities of color represent an increasing share of Georgia’s population. These growing communities deserve to have fair representation, in Congress and in both chambers of the Georgia General Assembly.
Unlike many other states, Georgia does not have an independent redistricting commission: our new district maps will be drawn by the same politicians who will probably run for reelection using them.
Common Cause Georgia urges the Legislature to use a transparent and accessible process for redistricting. New maps may not be subject to the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, but they will still have to comply with the remaining provisions of the Act. Racially gerrymandered maps can still be appealed to federal courts and can still be held unconstitutional.
Other states have spent large amounts of taxpayer money trying to defend — and then redrawing — legislative district maps. Georgia does not need to go down that same path.
Common Cause Georgia urges the General Assembly to ensure that the redistricting process involves the communities that will be affected. We urge our legislators to go beyond a ‘road show’ series of hearings, and to craft a process that truly empowers peoples’ voices to be heard. We urge the General Assembly to accept — and seriously consider — testimony about ‘communities of interest’ and maps drawn by community members.
The redistricting process shouldn’t be about incumbency protection. It shouldn’t be about political power. It shouldn’t be about ‘gerrymandering’ or ‘creative line drawing.’
Redistricting should be about fairness, and ensuring that all of us can have a voice in the decisions that affect our lives. It should be about voters picking their politicians, not politicians picking their voters.
It should be about ensuring that members of growing communities have fair and equal representation.
Common Cause Georgia members look forward to engaging with our elected officials about the redistricting process in upcoming months.