September 18, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and Common Cause Georgia are teaming up on a statewide tour to educate the public about the need to end partisan gerrymandering, a practice in which politicians draw their own district maps to include the voters whom they will represent.

“Voters should pick their representatives and not the other way around,” said Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia executive director. “Since the 1960s, we have been fighting to stop this practice that thwarts the will of Georgia voters. The ACLU of Georgia will continue to fight to create fair district lines throughout the state.”

The Georgia Gerrymandering Tour is a full-court press to raise awareness about what Georgians can do to get politics out of this process and to create fair district lines. The meetings will focus on the problems with gerrymandering in Georgia, solutions at both the state and local levels, and how citizens can become protectors of democracy in their own communities.

“Politicians in Georgia have been gaming the system for too long, drawing district lines in ways that put their own interests ahead of the voters they’re supposed to serve,” said Sara Henderson, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “The more people understand about this issue, the more empowered they will be to advocate for a nonpartisan redistricting process that will end partisan gerrymandering once and for all.” 

Earlier this year, the ACLU of Georgia and Common Cause Georgia testified against and helped defeat HB 515, which would have redrawn several state legislative district maps to benefit incumbent politicians by removing minority voters from their districts. The move was widely condemned as an underhanded scheme to rig the maps in favor of one side.

ACLU of Georgia and Common Cause Georgia are working to build momentum for nonpartisan redistricting reforms, like Senate Resolution 6 and Senate Resolution 7 introduced earlier this year, to ensure fair maps and equal representation for all Georgians ahead of the next nationwide round of redistricting in 2022.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states now have a commission responsible for drawing state legislative districts. Five states have an advisory commission that can assist the legislature with drawing the district lines, and five states have a backup commission that draws the lines if the legislature is unable to agree.

The statewide tour includes events in Macon, Augusta, Columbus, Athens, Mableton and Jasper. 

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