NAACP Says Georgia House Districts Were Redrawn to Cheat Blacks

ATLANTA (CN) — The Georgia NAACP claims in court that the boundaries of two state House districts were redrawn specifically to protect the white Republican incumbents and keep blacks from winning the seats.

In a federal complaint filed Monday in Atlanta, the NAACP alleges HB 566, the House bill authorizing the redistricting of state House district 105 and 11 was drafted and adopted for a “racially discriminatory purpose.”

The NAACP claims the law’s proponents redrew the district lines with the intent to prevent black voters from having “an equal opportunity to elect a candidate of choice.”

This is the second federal lawsuit related to voting rights violations filed in Georgia in the past week.

On April 20, five civil rights organizations filed a complaint alleging that a Georgia law requiring voters to register three months prior to participating in federal elections violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

If left in place, the statute determine who can vote in the upcoming, high-profile runoff election for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District seat.

In the latest complaint, the NAACP claims the two state House districts were drawn to protect white Republican incumbents Joyce Chandler and Brian Strickland, and that this violates the both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

The NAACP maintains that despite the growth of the minority population in Georgia since 2010, HB 566 “reduces the number of districts in which minority voters have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of choice.”

It alleges that HB 566 “intentionally and surgically removes Democratic voters from these districts for the purpose of making them noncompetitive and ensuring electoral victory for their Republican incumbents.”

This year, the Georgia state legislature attempted to enact yet another law, HB 515, which would have decreased the African-American population in District 111 again – had the law not been struck down, it would have been the fourth post-2010 redistricting plan adopted by Georgia lawmakers.

According to the complaint, HB 566 amended District 111 by “removing precincts and census blocks that are predominantly populated by minority voters, and inserting precincts and census blocks that are predominantly populated by white voters.”

“Race predominated with respect to the redistricting in HB 566 of Georgia House Districts 105 and 111, where pockets of voters were spirited in and out for the purpose of minimizing the opportunity of minority voters to participate effectively in the political process and for the purpose of capping African American and other minority representation and influence in the Georgia House of Representatives,” the complaint states.

Candice Broce, spokeswoman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, said, “Our office doesn’t have involvement in drawing these district lines, but when we have our day in court, we’ll prove that the claims are baseless.”

The NAACP seek a declaratory and injunctive relief.

It is represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of Washington, D.C.

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