The federal judge rejected Georgia’s Republican-drawn congressional and state legislative map after ruling the state had violated the Voting Rights Act.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones issued a December 8 deadline for Georgia legislators to redraw state lines or the court will create its own map.

“After conducting a thorough and sifting review of the evidence in this case, the Court finds that the State of Georgia violated the Voting Rights Act when it enacted its congressional and legislative maps,” Jones wrote.

“The Court commends Georgia for the great strides that it has made to increase the political opportunities of Black voters in the 58 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” he continued. “Despite these great gains, the Court determines that in certain areas of the State, the political process is not equally open to Black voters.”

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The map would need to include an additional majority-black congressional district, two majority-black state senate districts, and five additional state house districts, according to Jones.

The attorneys for multiple plaintiffs said that the redrawing of the congressional map is required under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, where voting maps are required to give minority groups the ability to take part in the political process. The map has not been updated since the last redistricting cycle.

“We are thrilled that the Court struck down Georgia’s congressional and state legislative maps today and outlined a clear process by which Georgia voters will get relief before the 2024 election, whether or not Georgia’s General Assembly chooses to comply with this order,” Elias Law Group partner Abha Khanna, who represents some of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Georgia is not the only southern state that has been challenged on the grounds of voting rights and racial justice regarding their congressional map – other states with Republican-drawn maps, such as Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas, have also been recently challenged.

A federal court redrew Alabama’s congressional map after the state legislature refused to create a second black-majority district.

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