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Redistricting update: Ga. lawmakers pass maps to retain GOP majority

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Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:25 AM EST
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Georgia and South Carolina lawmakers this weeks are working on plans to draw new legislative districts as required after each census. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

Georgia

ATLANTA - Georgia’s House is joining the Senate in passing a new map for its districts.

The House voted 99-79 Wednesday for a new map that would provide safe seats for 98 Republicans, or 54% of the House’s 180 members. That’s down from 103 Republicans now.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have now passed preferred maps for their own chamber, sending them to the other side for approval.

Democrats say Republicans have weakened some majority-nonwhite districts and needlessly divided some communities.

Republicans say the map complies with the federal Voting Rights Act and divides only 69 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Lawmakers must redraw electoral districts at least once every decade to equalize populations following the U.S. Census.

Georgia lawmakers last Wednesday began a special session to redraw congressional, state Senate and state House districts.

Among the items that’s come up: Republicans are moving to change the composition of the county commission and school board in Georgia’s second-largest county after Democrats took control of both bodies.

The Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee voted 4-3 on Wednesday to approve a bill changing how Gwinnett County Board of Education elections from partisan to nonpartisan races.

The committee considered but didn’t vote on another bill expanding Gwinnett County’s commission from four members to nine.

South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina voters should have an idea by the end of this week what both their state Senate and House districts will look like when they go to the polls next year.

The House committee handling redistricting plans to meet Wednesday and will likely release its map for its redrawn 124 districts based on population growth and changes in the 2020 U.S. Census.

A Senate committee released a proposed map of that chamber’s 46 districts last Thursday and plans a public hearing this Friday.

Both chambers have suggested they will hold early December special sessions to approve the state House and Senate maps, as well as a U.S. House map they will collaborate on.

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