Long County in southeast Georgia drew a new districting map, its first since 1988, that was approved by the Georgia General Assembly early in 2012. Long County then scheduled its elections for July 31, 2012 using the newly drawn map. But shortly after the elections, the U.S. Attorney General rejected the map, saying it violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In light of that rejection, Long County faced the possibility of an expensive legal fight with the Justice Department. It sought Arnall Golden Gregory’s help in finding an expedient and efficient solution.
A team of AGG attorneys, working with local counsel and the Board of Elections, undertook a proactive, collaborate approach and decided to sue the local Board of Elections, asking a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to adopt a judicial redistricting plan, which would avoid the necessity of obtaining preclearance from the U.S. Attorney General. The court granted AGG’s clients request, overturned the results of the invalid election, and quickly assembled a redistricting plan for use in upcoming elections.
By implementing AGG’s strategy of seeking a collaborative solution, Long County quickly resolved the issues with its districting plan, saving taxpayers considerable expense and allowing elections to be promptly rescheduled.