ATLANTA - Georgia is asking a trio of federal judges to declare a portion of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
The state made the request in a lawsuit filed earlier this month seeking approval of maps redrawing state legislative and congressional boundaries.
The filing made by Attorney General Sam Olens asked the judges to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, under which some states, including Georgia, must seek preclearance from federal officials on election-related changes because of a history of discrimination.
Georgia has also submitted the maps to the US. Department of Justice for preclearance and has said it will drop its federal lawsuit if the Obama administration approves the maps. State officials said Louisiana, Virginia and Alabama have employed a similar strategy.
Democrats contend the maps rip apart their party's efforts to forge multi-racial coalitions and resegregate the state by trying to make it harder for white Democrats to win re-election.
Republicans, who are controlling redistricting in Georgia for the first time, have said their maps comply with the Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act challenge was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.