Georgia seeks court approval for new voting districts

Photo by Jason Braverman

Photo by Jason Braverman

— The state Georgia has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking for approval for voting districts the state Legislature redrew in August.

The General Assembly met in special session to carve new political boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts to bring population levels of each district within accepted population levels based on numbers from the 2010 census.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens announced this afternoon that the state filed the lawsuit seeking federal approval, or preclearance, of the newly drawn state legislative and congressional plans.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Olens office said, Georgia must receive approval from the federal government before any changes in election practices or procedures are implemented. States can seek that approval from the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal court in D.C.

“Today we filed a lawsuit in the D.C. District Court seeking preclearance of our new state legislative and congressional plans," Olens and Deal said in a joint statement today. "These plans were carefully drawn by the General Assembly to ensure that Georgia’s growing population is fairly represented, and we are confident that they meet the requirements for federal approval.

“Like several other states, including Louisiana, Virginia and Alabama, Georgia will also submit the plans to the Department of Justice for administrative approval. If Georgia obtains administrative preclearance of the three plans, the state will dismiss the lawsuit.”

Democrats have blasted the plans as overly partisan.