Skip to comments.Georgia Redistricting
Posted on 11/21/2011 2:01:00 PM PST by The Georgia Conservative
In 2001, the Democratic Party in Georgia barely clung to power. The state, at that time, was moving ever closer toward a Republican majority. When the Democrats began the redistricting process, they knew the only way they could attempt to retain power was to gerrymander the districts in such a way that Republicans would have a difficult time getting elected to office.
Well, it didnt work. After weeks of work during a special session a session where secret maps were drawn and unreleased until well into the process the new districts looked outrageous. Lawsuits followed and the process began again a couple of years later to repair the damage. Ultimately, the Democrats did not succeed in their goal and Georgia followed its path toward a Republican majority.
Over the summer, the Republicans were required to perform the 10-year redistricting process. Lucky for us, we were not in the same predicament as the 2001 Democrats. As Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, the chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee said from the well of the Senate, this was an open process from the beginning. We had promised, before we ever started this endeavor, we would make the process open and fair. We held meetings all across the state to receive public input; we presented the maps to the public several days before they were to be debated in open committee meetings; and the redistricting committees received input from all senators and representatives who wanted to provide their guidance.
Many Georgians told us they were worried about splitting counties, precincts and neighborhoods between more than one voting district. We significantly limited the number of split counties. The results of our work are House, Senate and Congressional maps with contiguous districts that meet Constitutional standards.
In yet another beneficial accomplishment, we managed to approve these maps in a few short weeks, which saved much time and taxpayer dollars.
There is one more step in the process. To comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the final signed maps must be sent to Washington, D.C. to be pre-cleared by the federal government. I expect the open nature of our process and the care we took to make sure the new districts are fair will ensure that the maps will have no problem receiving pre-clearance from Washington. Once they are approved, the new districts will be effective for the next election cycle.
As a final note, I would like to point out that your senators voted unanimously to save you some money at the gas pumps.
On top of local and federal gas taxes, Georgia has a gas tax that comes in several parts. First, a 7.5 percent excise tax is charged at the wholesale level and is passed to consumers at the pump. Georgia also charges a 4-percent tax at the pump. That 4-percent tax is calculated twice a year once on January 1 and once on July 1 based on average gas prices near those dates.
There is, however, another component at work here. If the price of gas goes up or down by more than 25 percent, the at-the-pump gas tax is automatically re-adjusted. Between January and June, the price of gas rose by more than 25 percent meaning the gas tax was supposed to rise accordingly. Instead, Gov. Nathan Deal put a hold on that increase until December 31, 2011. For his executive order to stand, however, the General Assembly needed to give its approval, which it did during the special session.
As always, I am open to input from all my constituents. Please feel free to contact my office at any time with your concerns. I look forward to the regular session in January where we can continue to provide Georgians valuable services from a limited state government.
(Sen. Cecil Staton serves as Senate Majority Whip. He represents the 18th Senate District, which includes portions of Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, and Monroe counties.)
Frankly, I’d like to see a national mandate that says you par up the voting districts as best as possible with counties (without breaking up a county border to fit the gerry-mandering concept). The idea that you need to come very close to the magic division number of population...is stupid. We are wasting tens of thousands of man-hours every ten years....fitting over and over. Once we all come to accept these X number of counties being district number one....the better off we will be.
It didn’t work in VA either. It is now time to go full assault on these vermin all over the country and utterly destroy them.
It is preached over and over that we’re not different. Yet the SC ruled that districts must be drawn to make sure there are blacks in congress.
I think it should be guaranteed that Asian, Muslims, American Indians, Frenchies, the mentally challenged and Kenyans have their own congressional representatives. Oh, wait! The mentally challenged have representation. They’re democrats.
The evidence I remember from court testimony was that democrats circled black neighborhoods along I-75 to create a black majority district.
The redistricting scheme was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as a racial gerrymander.
Cleared by the federal government? Does that mean by Eric Holder?