The Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office of the Georgia General Assembly has released the first proposal for the redistricting of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate after the 2010 census.
Although these new maps are not the final version of the redistricting plan, they are the starting point for the discussions when the General Assembly meets in a special session starting Monday.
Currently, Bartow County and Cartersville are represented by the 12th, 14th and 15th districts in the House. Bartow County shares District 14 with Floyd County and shares District 12 with Gordon and Pickens counties. Cartersville makes up the majority of District 15.
The representatives holding those seats:
- District 12—Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper.
- District 14—Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville.
- District 15—Paul Battles, R-Cartersville.
In the first draft of the new map, Bartow County would be split into Districts 14, 15 and 16, with Cartersville remaining the heart of the 15th District. District 14 would still be shared with Floyd County, and District 16 would be shared with Polk County.
District 12 would no longer represent Bartow County.
The current representative for the 16th District is Rick Crawford, D-Cedartown.
In the Senate, Bartow County is split into the 52nd District, which includes Gordon and Floyd counties, and the 31st District, which includes Paulding, Polk and Haralson counties.
The senators for Bartow County:
Under the new plan, Bartow County would remain in District 52 but lose District 31.
A new 14th District would be created across Bartow and Cherokee counties, with Sen. Loudermilk as its representative. The district would resemble an inverted triangle, with Cartersville on the district border. The current 14th District, located around Macon, would be absorbed into the 15th, 16th and 18th districts.
Loudermilk is looking forward to representing the new 14th District. According to a press release, the senator said the new districts are what is best for the citizens of northwest Georgia and the new plan prevents communities that were not already split from being split under a new plan.
“The borders of my district may change, but my resolve to work for Georgia and for the benefit of my constituents has not changed,” Loudermilk said via press release. “I am confident the constituents of the new 52nd District will continue to receive excellent representation from my peers in the Senate when the new Districts are in place. I pledge to the 14th District, to continue to represent our northwest Georgia conservative values of faith, family, and freedom, and to serve all my constituents to the best of my ability. ”
Redistricting is required after each census, which occurs every 10 years. This year's process has been rife with accusations of voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.
According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) said: “We have a map that discriminates, that polarizes, that purges and uses the Voting Rights Act as the justification.”
Republicans dominate the process because of their majorities in both the House and Senate.
But Georgia is one of the nine states required by federal law to submit all redistricting maps to the U.S. Justice Department for approval. Georgia didn't get its current maps approved until 2006, five years into the process.