Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that the State of Georgia will file suit Wednesday in federal district court in Washington, DC in an effort to have Georgia’s redistricting plans precleared as soon as possible under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Under the Voting Rights Act, no change in Georgia’s election law can go into effect until the statute has been precleared by either the United States Justice Department or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit seeks preclearance of three statutes which contain the redistricting plans passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor affecting the composition of Congressional districts as well as districts for state House and Senate seats.
In announcing the filing of the lawsuit, Attorney General Baker stated, “We have elected to file suit in the United States District Court because this will provide the people of Georgia with the most expeditious method of preclearing those statutes recently passed by their elected representatives.” Attorney General Baker went on to explain that his decision to file suit also reflected the fact that Georgia’s redistricting plans typically involve litigation after a Department of Justice review . “In the past, Georgia’s redistricting plans have been the subject of litigation even after preclearance review by the Department of Justice. We have elected to proceed directly with judicial review of the plans, as authorized by the Voting Rights Act, in an effort to save valuable time and minimize the cost to Georgia taxpayers. This will avoid a protracted process that otherwise would involve both an initial administrative review of these statutes and then possible litigation following the conclusion of that administrative review.”