The Georgia state legislature will convene a special session Monday to complete a new redistricting map. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who is African-American, in an email message to her Democratic colleagues has charged that the map being proposed by the state’s Republican-led majority is a “roll back of voting rights in Georgia,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Moreover, she warned them against supporting the map, saying that every vote in favor of it will be held “accountable.”
Abrams, who is the first woman to serve as the General Assembly’s minority leader and the first African-American to lead House Democrats, believes that the map goes too far and that Republicans are trying to pack as many Democrats as possible in fewer districts, which would dilute their voting strength. She also is arguing that the map would split white and minority Democrats by moving the white voters into Republican-leaning districts.
"We are not asking for much — not a majority of Democratic seats or even a single new seat," she wrote in the email. "We only ask for fairness to our voters, transparency of their goals and equality of opportunity for all Georgians to be heard."
Abrams’ email drew fire from Republican House Speaker David Ralston.
"It seems the message is to try to coerce members into voting for something they don't believe in," Ralston said. "I just think that's disgusting, frankly."
But Abrams says she is simply doing her job.
"The role of a caucus leader is to protect the ideals and policies of our constituents," she said. "I can see no justification for any member to put his or her personal interests above our constituents and vote for a map that decimates the Democratic caucus and creates a Republican super-majority."
Gov. Nathan Deal has said that the map will be submitted to the Department of Justice for review. Georgia is one of nine Southern states required to get DOJ approval of changes to election laws because of past discrimination against minorities.