Tuesday, November 28, 2023–9:56 a.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
A special session of the Georgia General Assembly starts today with the top priority of revisiting the state’s redistricting maps.
In October, US District Judge Steve Jones ordered the state to draw Black majorities in one additional congressional district, two additional state senate districts, and five additional state house districts.
“He wanted to redraw some to ensure adequate representation of Black voters, not only in Congress but also in the General Assembly,” said State Representative Katie Dempsey. “So, that’s what we will be doing. That’s the number one thing.”
According to Dempsey, drawing out new maps is quite a balancing act.
“Besides looking at, as the judge has required, a certain population, it’s also population-specific to the exact number of people [voters] that should be within those districts,” she said. “We’re grateful for computers. People are not standing there with their pencils, counting the numbers. You hope to be within one, plus or minus, of the exact numbers that should be in each district from the Census order.”
Dempsey stressed the scope of the work that can done during the special session is limited.
“The governor’s order is all we can do,” she said. “I know there are a lot of people who want us to address other things while we are there. His order allows for us to do these maps, and also to ratify his executive order suspending the gas tax through November 20. So, we will be doing that. Some local legislation can be brought up, but only if it cannot wait until January.
Dempsey said that there can be committee meetings, site visits, and planning but no votes on legislation that can wait until January.