Court Battles

Federal judge leaves Georgia map favoring Republicans in place for 2022 midterms

Georgia may keep in place for the coming election newly drawn districts that favor Republicans, a federal judge ruled late Monday.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Steve Jones rejected claims from civil rights groups and other litigants that the maps inhibit Black voters’ ability to elect the candidate of their choice.

The decision is expected to allow Republicans to pick up a north Atlanta metro seat currently held by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) who is now running against ​​Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) in a neighboring district. 

The Republican-led legislature redrew the boundaries to include more of conservative-leaning rural Georgia, likely allowing the GOP to solidify control over a state where they already hold eight out of 14 congressional seats.

“The court finds that the public interest of the state of Georgia would be significantly undermined by altering the election calendar and unwinding the electoral process at this point,” Jones ruled. 

“Elections are complex and election calendars are finely calibrated processes, and significant upheaval and voter confusion can result if changes are made late in the process.”

The 238-page decision mirrors a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which declined to strike down an Alabama map also redrawn following the decennial census that a lower court found to violate Voting Rights Act protections for minority voters.

“When an election is close at hand, the rules of the road must be clear and settled. Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties, and voters, among others,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote. 

“It is one thing for a state on its own to toy with its election laws close to a State’s elections. But it is quite another thing for a federal court to swoop in and re-do a State’s election laws in the period close to an election.”

Georgia’s primary elections for the midterms are scheduled for May 24 with early voting starting May 2.

Georgia has faced a number of lawsuits against its new districts as well as a law passed last year imposing a number of new restrictions on voting following President Biden’s victory in the state.

Tags 2022 midterms Brett Kavanaugh Carolyn Bourdeaux Congressional map Georgia Joe Biden Lucy McBath Redistricting
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