In the newly drawn congressional districts for DeKalb County, U.S. Rep. David Scott is out, while Reps. John Lewis and Tom Price have gained more ground in the county.
The redistricting plans have been approved by the Georgia’s House of Representatives and are awaiting a vote by the Senate this week. Both branches of the Georgia Assembly are Republican-controlled.
Scott, who represents congressional District 13, would lose his entire portion of his district that is contained in DeKalb County. Lewis’ 5th congressional District will now extend east to Candler Road.
The DeKalb Democratic delegation is unhappy with all of the redistricting maps, which will go to the Justice Department of review. Passed in 1965, the Voting Rights Act requires the Justice Department to pre-approve changes made to election procedures, including the altering of districts in states with a history of racial discrimination. Georgia is one of nine states that must get such preclearance.
“One thing that we have at our disposal—the only thing really—is that we have a Democratic justice department and a Democratic president,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson.
“Our opinion is that the drawing of the maps has … actually violated all the traditional principles of redistricting,” said State Rep. Pam Stephenson (D-92).
State Rep. Howard Mosby (D-90) said the state’s Democratic Party is “solid in our opposition for the way the maps were drawn, and the rationale and the reasons that we’re given.”
“I’m encouraged by that kind of a solidarity that I haven’t seen in the 10 years that I’ve been [in the House],” Mosby said. “That’s how bad they’ve been drawn.
“The fact that there’s been unanimous support for the position that we will oppose the maps how they are currently drawn on the House, Senate and congressional levels I think is unprecedented,” Mosby said. “You haven’t seen that in a lot of states around the country that have opposed maps drawn by the opposite party.”
State Sen. Steve Hensen (D-41) said that also Democrats “didn’t have a whole lot of input, I think we’ll still have effective representation in Congress.”
Mosby said the whole point of redistricting is to allow each resident a voice in government.
“You can also do the biggest thing that you should do and that is get you and your neighbors out to vote,” Mosby said. “That’s what this is all about.”