Georgia Rep. Mack Jackson, D-Sandersville, looks at a map of proposed state House districts before a House hearing, Nov. 29, 2023, at the state Capitol in Atlanta.
Jeff Amy | AP
A federal judge on Wednesday accepted new Georgia congressional and legislative voting districts that protect Republican partisan advantages, saying the creation of new majority-Black voting districts fixed illegal minority vote dilution that led him to order maps be redrawn.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, in three separate but similarly worded orders, rejected claims that the new maps didn’t do enough to help Black voters. Jones said he couldn’t interfere with legislative choices, even if Republicans moved to protect their power. The maps were redrawn in a recent special legislative session after Jones in October ruled that a prior set of maps illegally harmed Black voters.
The approval of the maps sets the stage for them to be used in 2024’s upcoming elections. They’re likely to keep the same 9-5 Republican majority among Georgia’s 14 congressional seats, while also retaining GOP majorities in the state Senate and House.
The maps added the Black-majority districts that Jones ordered in October, including one in Congress, two in the state Senate and five in the state House. But they radically reconfigure some Democratic-held districts that don’t have Black majorities, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s 7th District in the Atlanta suburbs.
McBath has vowed to stay in the House. “I won’t let Republicans decide when my time in Congress is over,” she wrote in a Thursday fundraising email. But that means she’s likely to have to seek to run in a new district for the second election in a row, after Republicans drew her out of the district she originally won.