• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Advocates say Georgia election map targets Rep. McBath, a ‘fighter for Black rights’

Lucy McBath thegrio.com

Georgia state lawmakers are facing criticism for unveiling a congressional map that some say discriminates against Black voters.   

“Republicans have been doing everything within their power to diminish the voting power of Black voters,” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, which is based in Atlanta.

Black Voters Matter, theGrio.com
HEPHZIBAH, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 03: A member of the audience wearing a ‘Black Voters Still Matter’ t-shirt from Georgia NAACP as Georgia Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally December 3, 2022 in Hephzibah, Georgia. Sen. Warnock continues to campaign throughout Georgia for the runoff election on December 6 against his Republican challenger Herschel Walker. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“This is another effort to use the administrative process to give them an unfair advantage,” she told theGrio.

Ameshia Cross, a Democratic strategist, told theGrio that the newly drawn maps are “very disappointing.” 

“It appears that Republicans, especially in highly competitive districts…are working very strategically to limit Black voices,” said Cross.

On Friday, the Republican-controlled state senate released a congressional map that added hundreds of thousands of Black voters to Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which is represented by Rep. Rich McCormick, a Republican.

This comes after U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ordered Georgia’s GOP to redraw its congressional maps to include a new Black-majority district. 

Supreme Court to decide whether Alabama can postpone drawing new congressional districts

“Those of us that are familiar with gerrymandering know that there are two strategies that have always been used to impact Black voters,” said Brown. “Either over-compacting a district or to what you call cracking.”

The activist explained, “[Cracking] is when you separate and take out Black voters and crack that district in such a way that Black voters don’t have that very impact.”

Cross said she thought the new map was a “very strategic political calculation by Republicans,” adding, “but also one in which they recognize the power of the Black vote.

“Pushing Black voters to another district or redrawing the maps to where these voters would all of a sudden go to a Republican district…would make it a whole lot harder for their voices to be heard,” she argued.

The redrawn congressional map also shows that a significant number of Black voters were removed from the 7th Congressional District, which is represented by Congresswoman Lucy McBath, a Black Democrat who flipped the seat in 2018.

Lucy McBath thegrio.com
As a Congressional candidate in Georgia’s 6th District Lucy McBath (R) speaks onstage during Vanity Fair’s Founders Fair at Spring Studios on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Brown said state Republicans “want McBath’s district back” and that McBath is “being targeted because of her work around gun control.”

She came into office being a woman who had lost her child and was demanding gun control,” she added. “That’s literally how she was elected to office for that district.”

Cross said, “When you strip Black voters from somebody who has been as strong of a fighter for Black rights not only with voting rights but gun violence and maternal health, I think that it says that Black votes don’t matter.”

She added, “They’re making it a whole lot harder for [McBath] to keep her seat. That’s what this is.”

Lawmakers have until Dec. 6 to redraw Georgia’s congressional maps. Brown said that she is unsure of what will happen in the coming days. 

The Black Voters Matter co-founder said the court “should ask [the senate] to redraw the map” for “obvious” reasons. She added, “But I also know that this district has not been friendly to voting rights.”

Cross said that time is of the essence. 

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“We’re running down on time. That’s what I think the frustrating part is. Knowing that we are walking into an election cycle again and that all eyes are on Georgia for various reasons,” she cautioned.

“Not excluding it being one of the states that former President Trump was very strategic in working to get Black folks in particular overturned.”

Georgia is the latest state to redraw its congressional maps. Judges in North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, and Louisiana have also ordered state and local legislatures to redraw congressional maps after they were found to be unconstitutional and discriminatory toward Black voters.  

Cross said during the 2024 election cycle, Democratic voters should also “pay attention to judicial races.”

“A lot of the decisions that are going to fall out in this election cycle in the months to come are going to be decided by judges,” she said.

Cross noted that former President Donald Trump rapidly appointed conservative federal judges while in office.

“That has become very difficult waters for advocacy and civil rights groups that have historically counted on judges to be the ones to basically be the purveyors of civil rights and justice,” she said.

Cross added, “At this point, we’re seeing judges take an entirely different tone, and it has made it extremely difficult for civil rights advocacy.” 

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