Statewide Database | Redistricting News

Perdue signs bill redrawing political district

Macon Telegraph, The (GA)

March 2, 2006

Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday signed a bill splitting the Democratic stronghold of Athens-Clarke County into two state Senate districts.

Separately, Perdue signed an executive order creating a task force to consider putting in place an independent panel to oversee redistricting in Georgia .

Too often redistricting is motivated by "partisan interests and the protection of incumbents," Perdue's order said. He said making the process independent would restore public confidence in the election process.

Under Perdue's order, the task force would issue a final report by the end of the year.

Senate Democrats dismissed the move as "a transparent attempt to shift attention from GOP gerrymandering in an election year."

Democrats have been sharply critical of the redistricting bill Perdue signed on Wednesday. They argue it is little more than an election-year scheme to pave the way for a Republican to win a vacant state Senate seat in Athens-Clarke County .

"The signing of this legislation represents one of the greatest cases of hypocrisy that I've seen during my long tenure as a legislator," said Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown, of Macon .

But state Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson countered that when they were in power Democrats drew election boundaries that violated the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.

"I am pleased that the governor has signed what we consider the first fair Senate district map prepared by the Legislature since 1991," the Savannah Republican said.

Johnson said he supported Perdue's creation of an independent task force to study redistricting .

Senate Bill 386 separates Clarke County into two Senate districts and consolidates Madison County into one. Perdue also signed House Bill 1137, which makes minor changes to eight state House districts.

Both measures must be cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice before they become law.

Copyright (c) 2006 The Macon Telegraph

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Copyright (c) 2006 The Macon Telegraph