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State senate approves new map with redrawn legislative districts

The proposed maps have been criticized for underrepresenting communities of color and for disregarding public input.

ATLANTA — The next time you cast your ballot, you may find yourself voting in a different district.

Tuesday, the state senate approved a map with redrawn legislative boundaries.

The state's house and governor still need to approve it, but the proposed maps have been criticized for underrepresenting communities of color and for disregarding public input.

RELATED: What is gerrymandering and why is it legal?

Redistricting is a political process controlled by the party in power. In Georgia, Republicans are in power and they have drawn and are passing the new maps over the loud objections of Democrats.

The new maps presented by Republicans would allow them to maintain control over Georgia's senate and house.

RELATED: Critics accuse Georgia senate of gerrymandering new district maps

“The public is sick and tired of rigged maps and uncompetitive elections,” state Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) told senators during a debate Tuesday.

Among other things, the Senate map appears to turn the district of Democrat Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek) into a Republican district.

“It’s as if the huge population growth we’ve seen consisting almost entirely of Georgians of color has been rendered invisible,” Au told senators.

Senator Au is also among the few Asian Americans in the legislature.

But Republicans were quick to remind Democrats that their party produced gerrymandered maps twenty years ago when they controlled the legislature. “Found to be illegal. Found to be unconstitutional. Found to be a violation of the voting rights act,” said Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell).

However, it's important to note that few lawmakers currently serving were in the legislature when Democrats drew maps in 2001.

“So you have both parties once again playing games,” said Sen. Harold Jones, a Democrat in Augusta.

Republicans said Democrats were grasping for reasons to oppose maps the GOP drew fairly and legally based on census data and “communities of interest.”

“Quite frankly, you know, the Republicans are not going to be lectured by Democrats who ran the system twenty years ago the way they did,” said state Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon), who chaired the committee that drew the senate maps.

The Senate passed its map by a party-line vote. The House could do the same as early as Thursday.

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