A Georgia federal judge rejected on Friday Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit by Black voters and civil rights organizations challenging Georgia’s new redistricting maps for allegedly diluting Black voting power.
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones said the Georgia Secretary of State must continue to face allegations that he, as the state’s top elections official, is violating the Voting Rights Act. Judge Jones also denied a request by Raffensperger to certify his decision for immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.
Several Black Georgians as well as a historically Black fraternity and church sued Raffensperger on Dec. 30, claiming Georgia’s newly adopted legislative maps violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which makes it illegal for states to draw district lines that water down the voting strength of voters from particular racial groups.
Judge Jones said Raffensperger had misinterpreted federal law when seeking dismissal on the basis that the plaintiffs had failed to request that a three-judge panel preside over the case, as required in actions challenging the constitutionality of the apportionment of congressional districts or the apportionment of any statewide legislative body.
Judge Jones said the law does not apply to purely statutory challenges, like the plaintiffs’.