Georgia’s Political Lineup
There are no state constitutional deadlines. However, the practical deadline is before the deadline for candidate qualifying for the 2002 elections, which is in April 2002.
Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?
The legislature. The Senate Reapportionment, and the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment standing committees have jurisdiction over redistricting legislation. Plans will be considered in a special session of the General Assembly in the summer of 2001. The Governor has veto power over both plans.
The legislature holds joint public hearings around the state. Interim redistricting plans are posted on this website as they are released. A map of the newly adoped Congressional districts is available online as of September 28.
With control of redistricting and a 9-1 edge in the U.S. House, in 1991 Georgia Democrats sought to break up the district of Newt Gingrich, the state's sole House Republican and a narrow winner in 1990. In so doing and in creating a total of three black-majority districts, Democrats’ partisan objectives backfired. The delegation is now 8-3 Republican.
Georgia gained 2 additional seats in 2001, and Democrats will likely seek to modify current districts to favor their party. During the last round of redistricting, however, Democrats had a difficult time maintaining party unity because many black and white Democrats were split on how many minority opportunity districts to create.
In 1995, the Supreme Court in Miller v. Johnson declared Georgia's 2nd and 11th congressional districts to be unconstitutional “racial gerrymanders.” After the legislature failed to come up with a new map, the court in 1995 redrew these districts and the surrounding districts. The final congressional plan converted the two black-majority districts into “black influence" districts. The Supreme Court affirmed the revised plan. Georgia’s state legislative plan also was challenged as racially gerrymandered. All parties to the litigation agreed upon a revised plan before the court ruled on the lawsuit.
No reform is likely before 2002, but the Georgia League of Women Voters is active on redistricting. Its position in support of a redistricting commission reads: “The Commission should be diverse and include legislators, citizens, minority interests and political party representatives. [The League of Women Voters supports] an open process with citizen input and public hearings on any proposed redistricting plan.”
In addition, U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D) and some state legislators have proposed proportional voting systems in multi-seat districts.
Sewell R. Brumby