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State Senate committee passes new district maps

Georgia General Assembly Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office

A Georgia Senate committee voted 9 - 4 today to advance a proposed map of state senate districts. The Republican-controlled Georgia Senate has drawn criticism from Democrats and others for what opponents of the proposal characterized as a rushed process with limited opportunities for public input. But, Senator Bill Cowsert, a Republican who represents part of Athens-Clarke County, says the map is fair.

"We've been advised by non-partisan legislative counsel that this is compliant with the Voting Rights Act," Cowsert told members of the Senate Rules Committee. "Very clearly these districts are compact. You can look at the map and see that. They are all contiguous. There are no pairings of incumbents whatsoever."

The new map would potentially add one Democratic-leaning state senate seat. Currently, Republicans hold a twelve-vote majority in the chamber.

The proposed map would also reduce the number of counties which include more than one senate district from 39 to 29. Athens-Clarke County isn’t one of those counties, however. Under Senate Republicans’ proposal, Clarke County would remain split between the 46th and 47th districts.

The proposed map now advances to the full Senate for approval, possibly next week.

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