The state of Georgia wants three federal judges in Washington to declare a portion of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Georgia filed suit earlier this month asking that the court approve Republican-backed plans to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts. But in that filing, the state asks that if the court rejects its redistricting plans, that it also rule the law that requires that approval to be unconstitutional.
Georgia is one of nine states that must get any change in election law, including district maps, pre-approved by either the Justice Department or the federal court in Washington. That preclearance is required by Section V of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1964 law passed in the wake of Jim Crow and voting laws aimed at limiting the ability of African-Americans to vote.
“The state of Georgia and its voters are being subjected to the continued extraordinary intrusion into its constitutional sovereignty through Section 5 and its outdated preclearance formula based upon discriminatory conditions that existed more than 47 years ago but have long since been remedied,” the state says in its filing.
Attorney General Sam Olens said the state’s argument against the Voting Rights Act is simple: “we’re no longer in 1964, there’s no longer poll taxes, there’s no longer cases where less than 50 percent of the minority population is voting.” Of Georgia’s 5.7 million registered voters about one-third are minorities.
The suit is the beginning of what could be a lengthy process for approval of its new maps, which are designed to take effect in next year’s elections. While Georgia has sued in court for preclearance, it is also simultaneously asking for Justice Department approval. If Justice signs off on its plan, the state would drop its lawsuit.
If that does not happen, however, the state will take its chances in court, and, if loses this first round, could appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Full Article: Georgia seeks to strike down Voting Rights Act | ajc.com.