2021-12-05 Writing for Review of Special Session

Table of Contents:


Special Session 11/3-11/21. All 3 maps passed to Governor for signing. (State Senate, State House, U.S. Representatives/Congress). This project is to write letters to the editor to be distributed to papers across Georgia. Letters should have a maximum of 250 words.

GA’s redistricting process is fundamentally flawed. It simply does not include partisan balance or competitiveness in the criteria. It’s more concerned about county and precinct splits. A flawed process produces flawed maps. Partisan gerrymandering may be perfectly legal, but it’s also perfectly wrong.



The “ask” in your letter could be:

  1. Let your Republican legislator know that we see them protecting their seats, not protecting their people’s representation.

  2. Let your Democratic legislator know that we expect them to commit to a future redistricting process that is transparent and values districts that reflects Georgia citizens. Georgia is a swing state and should have competitive districts. Georgia is racially diverse.

talking points:

Choose one of the 2 letters below to write. The talking points may help you form your letter

letter #1: A faulty process yields faulty results

  • Was the process transparent? No timeline was given for the process through the special session. The committee guidelines passed were essentially the same used in the last redistricting cycle, ignoring input received from a coalition of redistricting advocate organizations on best practices. We don't know how public input was used in designing the maps. Maps were released less than a day before committee hearings commenced. (*The senate did release a congressional map in September, but that map has not yet been attached to  a bill.)  

  • Did the redistricting committee listen to the public? While there were public hearings, a portal for the public to submit comments and opportunity at committee hearings for public input, the public had little opportunity to give input on the proposed maps, due to rushed process.

  • Committee guidelines do not address partisan fairness. There is no protection in committee guidelines agains gerrymandering.

  • Maps were rushed, leaving public little opportunity for feedback on proposed maps.  The summer public hearings were held before the census was complete and before any draft maps were drawn. Of note, among public hearings after maps were presented there were no citizens who spoke in favor of the maps.

  • Public input had shortcomings: the location of summer hearings missed important areas. Public comment portal had no way to properly analyze comments, as it has no search, download or filtering capabilities. The portal also had no way to attach documents.

  • No evidence that public’s input was utilized. Committee listened but did not hear. Committee questioned members and the public on whether feedback was received from majority party instead of on the substance of the feedback being put forth.

  • What were the standards for measuring compliance with the Voting Rights Act (VRA)? The majority party was not forthcoming in providing the name of the person hired by legislative counsel, but they finally revealed that it was Thomas Brunell, the author of “Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America”.

  • Criteria for district changes are unknown.

racial diversity

  • Georgia population grew by 11 million over the past 20 year. 100% of growth is with persons of color and 100% of growth is in urban areas

  • Intent of Voting Rights Act (VRA) is not being followed even if the minority voting age population (MVAP) population are within range.

  • The committee did not have an intelligent conversation about compliance with VRA. They should have heard from experts on the totality of circumstances related to VRA. Instead, they got caught up with just one factor of VRA: racial polarization.

  • The maps appear to target black women legislators, Senator Michelle Au and U.S. Representative Lucy McBath.

  • The makeup of the senate committee was 10 white men of the majority party and 3 black women and 2 black men of the minority party.


  • Actually, we don’t know if it’s legal. The Supreme Court said that partisan gerrymandering is outside of their purview.

  • The maps do not measure favorably with the fairness benchmarks of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project (PGP). It simply does not include partisan balance or competitiveness in the criteria. Refer to “Proposed Map Comparisons”

  • It is possible to draw fair maps. Here are 5 fair congressional maps on Daves Redistricting: Citizen-Map-1, Citizen-Map-2, Citizen Map-3, Citizen-Map-4, Citizen-Map-5 . These maps receive a PGP grade of “A”.

  • Congressional map yields Republicans 64% seat majority in a state with under a 50% vote.

  • Partisan gerrymandering is evident. Partisan vote share should follow seat share (i.e. more votes for a party yields more seats). But we have seen a pattern of diverging vote share compared to seat share. Refer to “20-Year History of Redistricting”. The same trends hold for congress: between 2010-2012 the Republicans lost 2.4% of state vote share yet gained 1 congressional seat. Between 2010-2020 Republican vote share has declined by 49.2% yet the proposed congressional map would add 1 Republican seat.

  • The number of competitive districts are reduced, yet Georgia is a swing state. Refer to “Proposed Map Comparisons”

6th congressional district:

  • Only 650 people needed to be moved to meet population requirements, but instead almost half the people were removed. This is not “maintaining core of district” as claimed by the majority party.

  • The current congressional map has District 6 competitive and diverse. It reflects Georgia. It is the ideal Georgia district according to PGP fairness standards, and did not need to be changed (much).

13th congressional district:

  • The blackest area of Cobb County was removed from the 13th and added to the district of Marjorie Taylor Greene (district 14). These people have lost their voice.






quotes on the value of democratic representation:

The following quotes are for you to copy and use.

  • We want maps that respond to the needs of citizens over political parties.

  • People over Power.

  • Competitive districts are good for democracy. Candidates who win in competitive races are responsive to electorate.

  • History has it’s eyes on Georgia

  • Our beauty is in our diversity. Diversity is connected to Georgia’s economic growth. Why are we suppressing it?

  • From Senator Jones Senate floor speech 11/19 speaking about the committee process: Race is a defining element of America. We have to deal with it. It's not us against them. It's the constitution of the United States. It helps all of us. If we truly believed it we would have gone through the process [of having an intelligent conversation about compliance with the Voting Rights Act]. We took the easy way out and failed to tackle the most pressing problem in our nation. Next time we can hope for the courage to do this correctly.



  • Data, Data, Data: All the numbers you need are provided on the Fair Districts GA Legislator Resource page. Of particular interest on this page is the Princeton Gerrymandering Project benchmark data and comparisons, and the vote-share vs seat-share analysis over 20 years (showing gerrymandering in outcomes).

  • In the attachments below you will find the attached “Myths vs Facts” to offer clarification over prior contentious claims.

  • Dates: the timeline of the special session.


  File Modified

PDF File Redistricting myths & facts V5.pdf

Nov 20, 2021 by Julia Leon

PDF File AJCKenLawler20211117.pdf

Nov 20, 2021 by Julia Leon