Digging Deeper: Redistricting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Redistricting

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Georgia's legislators will be back in Atlanta this week to finish up redistricting that critics say will make Georgia politics more partisan.

Some south Georgia legislators say the new lines do away with districts that used to be a good mix of republicans and democrats.

And they say too many experienced lawmakers are being drawn into districts where they can't win.

At the state capitol last week, South Georgia Senator Freddie Powell Sims had strong words about the new district lines that draw her and the longest serving Senator George Hooks into the same district.

"Under the newly proposed Senate maps southwest Georgians have become potential pawns with muted voices," said Senator Freddie Powell Sims, (D)-District 12.

While everyone knew south Georgia would lose four to six House and Senate seats, the reality of what that looks like has Sims claiming that's not the intention of the voting rights act.

"This significantly dilutes members influence and the power of their vote," said Sims.

Representative Carol Fullerton worries it could hurt the legislature as a whole, affecting south Georgians with the most experience like Hooks.

"It's very important to know the personalities and how people use to vote or how people vote now or just things about the institution itself, learning the rules, that are very important for the person who's serving no matter what party they're in," said rep. Carol Fullerton, (D)-District 151.

Fullerton claims the Democratic Party of Georgia is already planning to file a lawsuit, if the maps signed by Governor Nathan Deal meet Justice Department approval. She worries too many districts like hers and John Lewis's Congressional district that have the ideal mix of voters are being drawn in favor of one party.

"He represented both blacks and whites and it was sort of an evenly split district so it was one of those ideal districts where people came together to elect their representative," said Fullerton.

Along the new Congressional district lines, 10 republican leaning districts are majority white, four democratic districts are a majority black. Fullerton worries House and Senate maps do the same thing and could give Georgia's legislature a look similar to the U.S. Congress where they've recently struggled to reach any compromise.

Fullerton says local legislation, include new maps for Dougherty County and the School System, will come up for consideration this week.

Albany decided to submit its map during next year's regular General Assembly session.

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Joint/reapportionment/en-US/default.aspx

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