Georgia Racial Gerrymander Bill Voted Down in Senate

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  • David Vance

Overnight, the Georgia Senate voted down House bill 515, a racial gerrymandering proposal that had been dropped at the end of session on short notice in the House and cleared through committee in minutes without public comment. Common Cause Georgia fought the bill from the outset and urged the Senate to vote it down on the grounds that significant numbers of Black voters would be packed into legislative districts with “safe” seats – thereby diluting their voting power to elect candidates of their choice – in order to move new white voters into Republican legislative districts that were carried by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential election.   

“This is a huge win for democracy in Georgia and shows how growing public alarm over the direction of our nation is pushing everyday people into fights that are traditionally too inside-politics to garner much public attention,” said Sara Henderson, Policy Director of Common Cause Georgia. “This victory is a prime example of how issues related to the foundation of democracy are becoming more important to the average voter. We could’ve never killed this bill without the tremendous grassroots support we received from our membership.”

In a March 16 letter to Senate leadership, Common Cause Georgia condemned the lack of public transparency the House passage of the bill and urged the Senate to vote against it, or any other interim redistricting measure. Senators were warned of the potential for huge legal costs to the state to defend the racial gerrymander in court against voting rights challenges. The letter also emphasized that the proposed legislation would be an expansive and unfunded mandate on Fulton, Spalding and Henry counties to produce voting materials and undertake

To read the March 16 letter to the Senate, click here.