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Georgia Gov. Kemp signs bill approving state's redrawn congressional map

A newly redrawn map of Georgia's congressional districts was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday following a special session held this week by state lawmakers. Image by Georgia General Assembly
A newly redrawn map of Georgia's congressional districts was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday following a special session held this week by state lawmakers. Image by Georgia General Assembly

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed legislation redrawing the state's congressional map after the previous one, also drawn up by Republican state lawmakers, was ruled unconstitutional.

Kemp signed the legislation into law on Friday, a day after the Georgia House of Representatives approved the redrawn map during ahead of a deadline imposed by a judge during a special session.

The new map sees Georgia's 6th Congressional District extended to include parts of urbanized Fulton and Cobb counties, where the Black voting-age population will now amount to 51.75%.

A federal judge had previously ruled Georgia's existing electoral district maps to be unconstitutional, violating part of the 1964 Voting Rights Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones set a hearing later this month to ensure the new maps meet specifications. That hearing is scheduled to take place Dec. 20.

The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a redrawn congressional map, passing the motion ahead of a deadline imposed by a judge. Photo courtesy State of Georgia
The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a redrawn congressional map, passing the motion ahead of a deadline imposed by a judge. Photo courtesy State of Georgia

Jones' previous order instructed state legislators to draw a pair of new districts containing a majority black population in the state Senate and five in the House of Representatives.

Georgia opened a special legislative session on Nov. 29 in response to the judge's ruling, wrapping up Thursday evening.

The new map passed largely along party lines with Republican lawmakers insisting it meets the judge's specifications.

"The remedy involves an additional majority black congressional district in west metro Atlanta that's from the often quoted page 509 of judge jones order so here again, it falls to us in the general assembly to comply with judge jones order as he is allowed us to do," Rep. Rob Leverette told his colleagues in the House Thursday, according to WGXA-TV.

"The bill you have before you will adopt a congressional map that does just that," he asserted.

Some Democrats, however, said the new maps amount to a reshuffling and do not fulfill the spirit of the judge's order.

"Georgia's Republican politicians have passed an unlawful legislative map, defying a judge's order to redraw our state's districts after they violated the Voting Rights Act," Rep. Sam Park told the house Thursday.

The new maps "certainly are not fair to Georgia voters especially for Black voters and voters of color, whose freedom to elect their candidate of choice is being attacked and undermined." he said.