When the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that it was approving Georgia’s new House, Senate and Congressional district maps, it was the first time ever that all three Georgia maps had been “pre-cleared” on the first try.
“I am proud to say that this year was the first time Republicans ever controlled the redistricting process and both the process and the product were very different than anything Georgia has seen before,” said former state senator Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg. Seabaugh, now deputy state treasurer, served as chairman of the Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee this summer.
“We put together a real good team of people to really work hard and make sure that the product… would meet the requirements,” Seabaugh said. “It was a lot of work. I’m not an attorney but I had to learn the law — inside and out, upside and downside and all the way around it. Because a single misstatement could have caused them not to be pre-cleared,” Seabaugh said.
Any changes to voting regulations for the state of Georgia, as well as Georgia counties and many other government bodies, must be reviewed by the Justice Department for compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
The maps can still be challenged in court, however, and Georgia Democrats have previously indicated they plan to do so.
“This is the first step in a long legal process,” state Sen. Jason Carter, an Atlanta Democrat, told the Associated Press.