Georgia Redistricting

Georgia’s state House redistricting (detail around Atlanta).

Georgia has released maps of its new State House boundaries. The AJC has an interactive map color coded by:

Red: Contested (two representatives now live in one district)
Yellow: New representation (new incumbent representative in that district)
Blue: Open (no incumbent representative in that district)
Green: No change (same representative as before though the district’s lines may have changed).

Complaints are strong in my old neighborhood of Decatur with this map as Exhibit A:

Gerrymander or capturing “communities of interest”?

The AJC’s pundit Jim Galloway offers his take here. What I’ve read of Galloway is that he likes to think of himself as a political realist (see his opening sentence) but he does provide useful context and history. And he makes two important points:

Bottom line: In 2001 and 2011, after the leaders of the ruling party introduced their outlines of power, not a single line was changed by the protests of the opposition, or the complaints of the public.

There is more similarity. In the four decades since the passage of the Voter Rights Act, not a single redistricting map passed by the Legislature has escaped a federal court fight. And just as in 2001, the maps of 2011 are headed the same way.

The first one is particularly disappointing of course, to those of us contemplating open government. Perhaps the second one gives some relief, but it could be avoided by having open redistricting (and taking seriously citizen participation).


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