GA Senate redistricting debate: 4 white men in business attire with 1 white woman with glasses in a burgundy suit standing behind a wooden podium with a American flag and Senate general Assembly seal on the wall
Speaker of the House David Ralston speaks to the press before the House session Wednesday. The House is debating the proposed maps for the House districts. (Taylor Reimann/Fresh Take Georgia)

David Ralston, the Republican speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, struck back Wednesday at accusations his party is redrawing voting districts unfairly to remain in power.

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In a news conference ahead of a debate on a GOP-proposed map of the Georgia House districts, Ralston said he wanted to provide a “history lesson” about what he described as the “atrocious” maps proposed by the Democratic-controlled legislature in 2001 which were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Ralston called the maps a “case study in gerrymandering” and said the Democrats targeted the Republican districts to prevent the reelection of 50% of GOP lawmakers. Despite those maps, Republicans took over the Senate in 2003 and the House in 2005. 

[Read more about Republican-approved redistricting maps here]

Ralston compared the 2001 maps with the Republican-drawn maps in 2011, which faced opposition from Democrats claiming that they violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Ralston, however, said the 2011 maps were fair. 

“I am proud of the track record the Republican majority has established,” Ralston said. 

Link to updated Georgia redistricting maps: Scroll down and click “Proposed Plans” tab to see the maps.

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