Possibly, a GOP contribution to a Democratic voting rights suit

A circular thought worth pondering when it comes to the intersection of redistricting and the move to shift next year’s transportation sales tax vote:

– Many Democrats in the Legislature have pulled their support for moving the date of the ’12 transit tax vote because of the GOP decision to seek dominance of local legislation affecting Fulton and other Democratically controlled counties by packing the local delegations. In the Senate, Republicans sliced Fulton into 11 pieces in order to assure themselves of a 7-4 majority.

– Democrats say that such packing amounts to a dilution of African-American voting power, but it is a largely untested area for litigation. Republicans dismiss objections as nonsense, because local legislative delegations are merely advisory in nature. The U.S. Justice Department doesn’t concern itself with window-dressing.

– Because Democrats have pulled their support from the T-SPLOST shift, Republicans in the Capitol will need all the votes their caucuses can muster. They have caved to a tea party demand that all SPLOST votes in Georgia – whether for schools, roads or local government operations – be held every other year, as part of November general elections.

The one exception: A local legislative delegation would be allowed to grant a waiver that would allow cities, counties or school boards to hold sales tax votes at other points in the calendar.

In other words, Republicans are about to give local legislative delegations a measure of real power based in state law – which they say does not now exist. Just in time for a federal lawsuit.

This is a head-scratcher.

Updated at 2 p.m.: Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, just called to say that there is no contradiction.

When giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to referendums held outside a November general election. local delegations would still be officially operating in a mere advisory capacity, Seabaugh said. Moving the vote off that date would still require passage of a measure by both the House and Senate.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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87 comments Add your comment

MrLiberty

August 24th, 2011
1:03 pm

I’m for small government, extremely low taxation, restoration of freedom and liberty and I think both the republican and democratic parties are a scourge on the nation and are clearly responsible for all of the economic and political problems we face (how could it be otherwise – they have been the only two parties in power for at least 150 years).

Who is speaking for my rights as a citizen and a voter??

BRW

August 24th, 2011
1:13 pm

You speak for yourself when you vote. Who did you vote for in the last election?

cs

August 24th, 2011
1:19 pm

more kookyness from the kooks.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
1:24 pm

Anybody or any group which has money to pay a lawyer can file suit.

Suits and complaints to the Department of Justice are not often successful unless there is a clear case of packing or dilution.

At least most, if not all of the Georgia recently published re-districting maps will likely be in place come next November. This makes for good political intrigue, but not likely to amount to anything of consequence.

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
1:39 pm

The only thing I have seem the GOP contribute to is the unemployment rate and the decay in basic morals.

Cobbian

August 24th, 2011
1:48 pm

Although I rarely agree with the Tea Sippers, I think they are right in assuring that all SPLOST votes are held with the November general elections. That little exception, allowing local legislative deligations to choose another date, is the door for special interests to come through with big campaign contributions.

honested

August 24th, 2011
1:48 pm

In light of the new district maps, has there been a bill in the special session to add a slogan to the State Seal. “Ignorance is Strength” would seem to fit.

True Confessions

August 24th, 2011
1:54 pm

Funny, very funny, Democrats in Georgia house complaining about the new redistricting maps. Remember when they were in power with Boss Hog Murphy 20 years ago, drawing up Republican districts that were shaped like ginseng roots, bent corkscews, and boomerrangs. Now they’re complaining?

Intown

August 24th, 2011
1:57 pm

@True Confessions: Yes. It’s wrong no matter who does the gerrymandering.

Travis McGee

August 24th, 2011
2:02 pm

I’m assuming these folks were elected because the voters thought they would or were doing a good job in the legislature.

From where I sit they’ve been true to their sponsors and dropped taxes and provided amazing loopholes to big businesses and the super rich — and succeeded in putting Georgia in a position in virtually every major category where we have to look up to Aladamnbama!

And, for these wonderful achievements, we’ll let you eat at the public trough a while longer.

Ignornance knows no bounds.

td

August 24th, 2011
2:09 pm

Intown

August 24th, 2011
1:57 pm
@True Confessions: Yes. It’s wrong no matter who does the gerrymandering

And how are these district gerrymandered? I looks like to me that they are mostly compact and it looks like communities of interest are for the most part kept together. African American elected officials are protected and the only ones that are going to lose is white elected democrats. The districts do add to the strength of the Republican party but the Republicans won so does anyone think they are going to draw the districts to benefit Democrats?

td

August 24th, 2011
2:12 pm

Travis McGee

August 24th, 2011
2:02 pm

“Ignornance knows no bounds.”

Really? I will bet you that the intelligence level of the Republican voter is greater than the intelligence level of the Democratic voter. Just go and look at any intelligence measure you want to in Democratic counties vs. Republican counties. Now who is more ignorant?

Songbird

August 24th, 2011
2:20 pm

Really td. The republican party has just as many poor, uneducatd members as the democratic party. Try looking up the data before spouting off something that just makes you look ignorant and uninformed.

tom H

August 24th, 2011
2:24 pm

To Mr Liberty @1:03 PM “who is speaking for my rights as a citizen and a voter? The answer: Two organizations that could use more support from citizens like you. Please google PUBLIC CITIZEN, also COMMON CAUSE.

honested

August 24th, 2011
2:25 pm

td

How is it that the new districts are not gerrymandered when everything about the shape and number of districts has changed radically. Toss the whole notion of ‘community of interest’ out the window as the only interest is keeping GA at the bottom of education, job growth and other measures of civilization.

As for the intelligence comment, you would definitely lose that bet. Intelligence tests are not skewed to suit misguided ideology.

Robert

August 24th, 2011
2:33 pm

“Democrats say that such packing amounts to a dilution of African-American voting power…” – So Georgia Dems are saying that blacks only vote Democrat? I guess that’s the Plantation mentality that Col. West, Herman Cain & others have been pointing out.

td

August 24th, 2011
2:46 pm

Songbird

August 24th, 2011
2:20 pm
Really td. The republican party has just as many poor, uneducatd members as the democratic party. Try looking up the data before spouting off something that just makes you look ignorant and uninformed

Compare the SAT and CRCT scores of John Lewis district(votes 80% Dem) to Phil Gingrey(votes 80% Republican)? Compare Hank Johnson (Vote 70% Dem) to Rep Rice(Votes 70%). You know what I am saying is the truth but you are to intellectually dishonest to admit to the truth.

TOTAL VERBAL MATH WRITING COUNTY/CITY SYSTEMS
1551 518 528 505 FAYETTE COUNTY – Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone
1363 452 443 448 DECATUR
1593 527 538 528 FULTON COUNTY – College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Alpharetta, Roswell
1523 510 514 499 COBB COUNTY – Kennesaw, Smyrna, Vinings, Powder Springs
1521 504 522 495 GWINNETT COUNTY – Norcross, Dacula, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Duluth, Snellville
1575 525 537 513 CHEROKEE COUNTY – Canton, Nelson, Holly Springs
1550 519 525 506 FORSYTH COUNTY – Cumming
1481 497 498 486 BUFORD
1460 489 500 471 MARIETTA
1268 428 422 418 CLAYTON COUNTY – Jonesboro, Morrow, Riverdale
1515 515 508 492 COWETA COUNTY – Newnan, Sharpsburg
1408 475 469 464 HENRY COUNTY – McDonough, Stockbridge, Hampton
1338 451 443 444 DEKALB COUNTY – Chamblee, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, Tucker
1300 436 424 440 ATLANTA

Now can you pick out the counties that are marjority Republican vs the counties that are majority Democratic voters? Numbers do not lie my friend.

td

August 24th, 2011
2:52 pm

honested

August 24th, 2011
2:25 pm
td

How is it that the new districts are not gerrymandered when everything about the shape and number of districts has changed radically. Toss the whole notion of ‘community of interest’

The census gave the state another member of the house of reps. and every district has to have around 550,000 people living in the district so the map had to shift. The “communities of interest” I see are the precincts that vote vast majority Dem or Rep are kept in Dem or Rep control, counties and cities are kept together as much as possible but there are some splits and the splits look like they fall along the voters choices line. What other “communities of interest” are you talking about?

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
3:00 pm

Ouch. Songbird and honested got scathed by factual statistics rather than pie in the sky pronouncements. honesteded seemed to get it right when he said: “Intelligence tests are not skewed to suit misguided ideology”, but not in the way he meant.

honested

August 24th, 2011
3:01 pm

td

What reason is there for Dekalb County (that had legitimate, court approved House and Senate districts that were consistent in representing AREAS) to now have a bunch of worm-shaped districts crawling from one end to the other (aside from the 79th and 80th which oddly have essentially the same shape they started with?
Why is it suddenly necessary to combine two existing districts wherever possible and have long term incumbents pitted against one another with a couple of open districts thrown in for good measure?

I know what Speaker Murphy did. I thought time had changed and there was supposed to be some sense of ‘enlightenment’ in the new majority. Of course this is the same crowd that has given us nothing but downturn for the last 8 years.

double

August 24th, 2011
3:01 pm

TD which of these districts are you in?

td

August 24th, 2011
3:11 pm

honested

August 24th, 2011
3:01 pm

Are the house and senate districts have about the same population through out the state? Are the African American Representatives protected? Are the districts somewhat compact? If you answer yes then the Republicans have every right to draw the lines to most benefit their side of the isle. I am sorry that you choice to live in an area full of Republicans and you now feel like you do not have representation. Welcome to my world. I was without representation for most of the 80’s and 90’s until they drew Newt into my district (trying to get him out of office).

td

August 24th, 2011
3:13 pm

double

August 24th, 2011
3:01 pm
TD which of these districts are you in?

None. I live in Phil Gingrey’s district outside the metro area. I grew up in Newt’s last district.

Rafe Hollister

August 24th, 2011
3:20 pm

td

You do conservatives proud! These hypocrits had nothing to say when everything was going there way, even though it was unethical and undemocratic.

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
3:20 pm

Thank god for educated , competent judges in the legal system. The Voting Rights Act was needed back in the 60’s when it became law due to Southern GOP behavior and it is still needed today due to Southern GOP behavior.

Songbird

August 24th, 2011
3:23 pm

Td, not sure SAT and CRCT scores are relevant whe it comes to voting. Are any of those people old enough to vote. You have a lot of educated professionals living in town like myself who don’t have kids. I happen to have a masters degree in statistics, so I’ll match my intellectual level against yours any day. The republican party just doesn’t appeal to everyone who is educated or has money anymore. The data shows that the democratic party is capturing more and more of the highly educated, i.e., a college degree or better, and those with incomes above the median. Social issues and the anti-intellectualism that has taken over the GOP in the past 20+ years has caused the demographics of the two parties to shift.

Perhaps you should be looking at the demographics of actual voters by party because that would be much more informative than SAT and CRCT scores of non voting age kids.

td

August 24th, 2011
3:23 pm

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
3:20 pm

Would you like to make a bet that these maps are held up by the Supreme court?

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
3:23 pm

@ dixiedemons – the last time those “competent judges” ruled in regard to the VRA, it was against Democrats.

honested

August 24th, 2011
3:29 pm

(faux) centrist

Well at least the Justice Department can’t blame this monstrosity on the Democrats.

honested

August 24th, 2011
3:31 pm

td

I chose to live where I do 30 years ago. My district turned out an ineffective and dishonest republican in the last election and replaced her with an intelligent and ethical Democrat. The new lines won’t change that, but they wreck most of the effective legislators and will eliminate half of the environmentally conscious legislators in Fulton and Dekalb. To what end?

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
3:40 pm

faux “honest” ed – I’ll drop the name calling if you will.

I call them as I see them. This redistricting certainly has gerrymandering by Republicans as that is a historical political fact of life for the majority party. But to call it a monstrosity is just a partisan stretch. I doubt the Justice Department will find fault like the TRUE monstrosity the Democrats tried a decade ago.

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
3:42 pm

@ td and Centrist this quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

I don’t think the court will simplify the argument to Dems vs Reps. Hopefully, they will look at the intent of the action like they have in the past.. Like the intent of ” poll tests ” was to dilute the voting power of African Americans. The argument would most likely be the same with ” packing ”
in the sense you draw lines that pack the majority of African American voters into the same districts to dilute /limit their overall voting power to one area that you concede.

honested

August 24th, 2011
3:46 pm

centrist

At least the likely opening in the 40th Senate District might make the aggravation worth it.

td

August 24th, 2011
3:48 pm

Songbird

August 24th, 2011
3:23 pm

I said on average Republican voters are more intellectual than Democratic voters and my evidence is proof of that because the children of Republican parents tend to do better than the children of Democratic voters. There are also a lot of Republican voters that have no children and therefore statistically speaking the two side will cancel each other out.

“The republican party just doesn’t appeal to everyone who is educated or has money anymore.”

You must be under 30 and have not had very many political science classes? If you have had them then you would know that it is natural(and has been forever) for a young person to graduate from college and be idealistic and think that they can save everyone with government (IE: Democratic voter). If you o you research you will fin that when these college educated people get more involved in Business, start having children, start finding out what the cost/benefit of government really are then about half your now liberal friends will become conservatives by the time they are 40 and 75% will be by the time they are 60.

” The data shows that the democratic party is capturing more and more of the highly educated”

Can you please give me a reference to this data?

td

August 24th, 2011
4:01 pm

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
3:42 pm

You are dreaming my dear. This court is no where as liberal as the courts you are talking about. If the number of African American Representatives increases then how can you claim a “dilute /limit their overall voting power”? To not pack the district would increase the chances of less actual representation. You can not have it both ways. If African Americans want real power then they need to be able to vote for a few more Republicans so that their votes will not be ignored.

honested

August 24th, 2011
4:02 pm

td

Or when those ‘friends’ drift to the wrong, you could just write them off and find new, civilized friends.
I’m lucky, most of my college friends are still as far Left as when we started, and much better armed.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

August 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

The Snark

August 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

When are they going to release the maps of the U.S. Senate districts? What are they trying to hide?

dixiedemons

August 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

td

The VRA addresses individual voters that are minorities…. not he number of minority representatives

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

@ The Snark – some people here may not understand your joke.

double

August 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

Why would supreme court hold up the maps?

findog

August 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

Claiming that incumbents have been saved is not the same as saying a minority’s voting strength has not been diluted
Now the packing of delegations could be solved by stipulating that the county changes can only be considered by delegates that are completely within the political boundary of that county, SMALL GOVERNMENT
Call it the Billy McKinney was wrong for Cobb County Law

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

@ Aaron Burr – Your link refers to only Presidential voting which is highly dependent upon the quality of the nominees and the snapshot state of the union. I doubt you will like the trend of last year’s election if you can find it, and next year’s election does not bode well, either.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

August 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

@Centrist – Agreed. When it comes to Education, I think Sarah Palin was a horror factor to those with an education.

Ignorance, on the other hand is a more lasting trend.

findog

August 24th, 2011
4:24 pm

Snark, they have
I-285, inside unrepresented, outside two RINO’s

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
4:29 pm

@ findog – While I support your sentiments about making new laws/ Constitutional amendments to reduce gerrymandering, current majorities aren’t willing to adopt them for obvious reasons. Every decade the losing side makes such calls which fall mostly on deaf ears. Unfortunately, gerrymandering is quite legal as long as it doesn’t run afoul of the VRA interpretations by the Justice Department and judges.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
4:34 pm

@ findog – Funny U.S. Senate districts. But I think there are two strong Republican Senators who mostly look out for the mega-wealthy and corporations.

findog

August 24th, 2011
4:36 pm

Centrist, really? While I remember Billy’s silly need to meddle in Cobb I don’t remember a single thing he thwarted or accomplished. PACKING Fulton is for only one thing, undoing the Milton merger back when the farmers up their couldn’t afford fire or sheriff services. Let Milton be free, but pay their fair share of the infrastructure and pension debt [proportional to land mass] occurred during their time suckling Fulton’s teet…

td

August 24th, 2011
4:38 pm

findog

August 24th, 2011
4:36 pm

“pay their fair share of the infrastructure and pension debt [proportional to land mass] occurred during their time suckling Fulton’s teet”

I am sure they have paid way more then their fair share over the past 20 years.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

August 24th, 2011
4:39 pm

@Findog – Interesting. I think the level of hypocrisy of the county and state GOP will be directly observable in the proportion of Fulton debt that that Milton takes.