The defeat of map-rigging bill, HB 515 is proof that organized action works. Thanks to everyone who made phone calls, signed the petition, shared information on social media, and took action at the Capitol racial map rigging was defeated for now.
The decision to drop map-rigging from HB 515 comes after national attention from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee as well as pressure from a coalition of left-leaning organizations.
But the issue is still alive and continued support is imperative to defeating it for good. As Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia said shortly after the vote, “We certainly have concerns about the transparency of this process. Districts should not be drawn to serve representatives. Districts should be drawn to serve voters.”
Caldwell worked to keep this process as quiet and back-room as possible. When asked how the bill got started he said he couldn’t remember who had approached him, whether it was Golick or Strickland. During a hearing of the bill in the House, Caldwell refused to allow public comment. The date, time, and location of the bill’s hearing also changed suddenly, trying to discourage public attendance.
This shows exactly why Georgia needs an impartial map-drawing committee. As long as we don’t have one it’s always a possibility that bills like this will continue to pop up. Map-rigging should never seem like an option for politicians. Maps shouldn’t be redrawn behind closed doors, without public feedback.
Together we can keep holding politicians accountable and working to create a fair system.