What does it mean when one political party uses its control over redistricting to thwart our nation’s founding principles? It means that many thousands of voters lose their voices. This year Georgia voters pleaded for a transparent redistricting process that would result in fair maps and competitive districts. The party in power ignored us.
Here’s what happened. The Legislature conducted hearings across the state before the Census was complete and before any draft maps had even been presented.
Then, during the special legislative session, the Republican committee chairs held perfunctory and superficial committee hearings. Voters who went to the trouble of testifying, and Democratic legislators, might as well have been speaking to themselves in a sealed room. Both parties have histories of misusing the redistricting process to their own advantage, but that is no excuse for continuing to do so.
We are a purple state, where neither party reflects the preference of a clear majority of voters, yet the district maps strongly favor one party. Why? Because that party is frantically working to retain power, and completely disregarding the representational interests of many Georgia citizens. Voters should urge their state legislators, of whichever party, to establish a nonpartisan, independent, redistricting process to prevent this travesty from occurring again in ten years. We simply want our individual votes to count.
Harvey G. Young, Atlanta