Georgia

State website: Legislature's reapportionment website
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Ga. Const. art. III, § II, ¶ 2

The Latest

Congress: On August 31, 2011, the state legislature passed HB 20EX; it was signed on September 6, and precleared on December 23.

State leg.: On August 23, 2011, the state legislature passed HB 1EX (state House lines) and SB 1EX (state Senate lines); both were signed on August 24, and precleared on December 23. On February 23, 2012, the state legislature passed and the Governor signed HB 829 (adjusting state House lines), which was precleared on May 11.

On March 21, the state legislature passed SB 430 (adjusting state Senate lines), which the Governor signed on April 13, and which was precleared on June 12. Because preclearance was granted after the qualifying period for candidates, the SB 1EX lines will be used for 2012 Senate elections, and the SB 430 lines will be used for 2014 Senate elections.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 20 D, 36 R 66 D, 113 R, 1 O
    State legislative lines R 20 D, 36 R 66 D, 113 R, 1 O
    2000 cong. lines D 32 D, 24 R 105 D, 74 R
    2000 state lines D 32 D, 24 R 105 D, 74 R

    Georgia's congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House's committee responsible for redistricting are listed here; the members of the state Senate's committee are listed here.


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Georgia on March 17, 2011.

    Georgia state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional or state legislative lines. Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by June 29, 2012. [Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-132(d)(1)] The regular legislative session began on January 10, 2011, and ended April 1, 2011; a special session for redistricting will begin on August 15.

    Georgia law ties the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade, although a federal court has cast doubt upon such a construction. There is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Ga. Const. art. III, § II, ¶ 2; Kidd v. Cox, No. 1:06-CV-0997, 2006 WL 1341302 (N.D. Ga. May 16, 2006)]


  • Public input

    The legislative committees responsible for redistricting conducted public hearings; meeting materials are archived here.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Georgia must comply with constitutional equal population requirements. [Larios v. Cox, 300 F.Supp.2d 1320 (N.D. Ga. 2004)]

    Georgia must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, because Georgia is considered a "covered jurisdiction" under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it has an obligation to submit redistricting plans to the Department of Justice or to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to ensure that the plans do not discriminate against minority communities.

    Beyond those requirements, the Georgia state constitution demands only that state legislative districts be contiguous. [Ga. Const. art. III, § II, ¶ 2]

    In 2011, the relevant state legislative committees promulgated guidelines prohibiting multimember districts; noting that the redistricting plan should consider county and precinct boundaries, compactness, and communities of interest; and asserting that "efforts should be made to avoid the unnecessary pairing of incumbents." [2011-2012 Guidelines for the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee]. These guidelines may be modified at any time.


  • 2010-cycle cases

    Howard v. Augusta-Richmond County, No. 1:14-cv-00097 (S.D. Ga.): an action in federal court claiming that a change in the election date of Augusta-Richmond elections could not be enforced, based on a DOJ objection to the change before the decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
         - Complaint (Apr. 14, 2014).
         - Motion for appointment of 3-judge court (Apr. 21), opp. (Apr. 30), reply (May 2).
              - Order denying appointment of 3-judge court (May 13).
         - Motion for preliminary injunction (Apr. 22), opp. (Apr. 30), reply (May 12).
              - Order denying motion as moot (May 13).
         - Motion to dismiss (Apr. 30), opp. (May 7).
              - Order granting motion to dismiss (May 13).
    The latest: On May 13, 2014, the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. The court framed the issue not as whether Shelby County was retroactive, but as whether section 5 stood as an obstacle to the enforcement of Georgia's law. Although the DOJ had objected to the law, and had not withdrawn its objection, the county was still eligible to seek judicial preclearance, which would necessarily be granted after Shelby County's holding that the 2006 formula for applying section 5 was unconstitutional.

    Georgia v. Holder, No. 1:11-CV-01788 (D.D.C.): an action in federal court requesting preclearance of Georgia's state legislative and congressional districts, and in the alternative, requesting a declaration that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional.
         - Complaint (Oct. 6, 2011).
         - Motion to dismiss (Dec. 23).
         - Order dismissing the case (Jan. 3).
    The latest: After districts were precleared, the case was dismissed on January 3.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Georgia's legislature passed state House, state Senate, and congressional plans, and sought preclearance in federal court. The state House and congressional plans were precleared on April 5, 2002, but the court refused to preclear the state Senate plan; the legislature passed a new state Senate plan on April 11, 2002, which was precleared on June 3, 2002. These precleared plans were used for the 2002 elections. (The initial preclearance objection was later vacated by the Supreme Court, in Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461 (2003).)

    Both the legislative plans and the congressional plan were also challenged in federal court. The congressional plan was upheld, but the state legislative plans were struck down, on equal population grounds. When the state legislature failed to pass a new state legislative plan, the federal court produced its own, valid for the 2004 elections. In 2006, the state legislature adjusted several state Senate districts; it is not clear whether these adjustments were submitted for preclearance. The adjusted state Senate plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld. [Kidd v. Cox, No. 1:06-CV-0997, 2006 WL 1341302 (N.D. Ga. May 16, 2006); Larios v. Cox, 314 F.Supp.2d 1357 (N.D. Ga. 2004); Larios v. Cox, 300 F.Supp.2d 1320 (N.D. Ga. 2004), aff'd 542 U.S. 947 (2004)]

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