DPG Statement on Republicans’ Partisan Power Grab in Gwinnett County

November 11, 2021

This week, Georgia Senate Republicans passed out of committee along party lines legislation to reconfigure the Gwinnett County Commission and the Board of Education, one year after Gwinnett residents voted to elect people of color to lead the County Commission and Board of Education for the first time in history. 

The sole Republican representing Gwinnett in the State Senate, supported by a small group of non-Gwinnett Republicans, blindsided lawmakers and voters alike by introducing the bills just days ago with no advance notice, offering virtually no time for consideration or public feedback before ramming them through committee to a full vote in the Senate.

In response, Scott Hogan, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, issued the following statement:

“The undemocratic power grab that Republican lawmakers are attempting is one of the most egregious abuses of power under the Gold Dome in recent memory. It is unfathomable that any legislator would seek to drastically reshape local government of the most diverse county in Georgia of nearly one million people without consulting fellow lawmakers or voters who would be affected by the proposal, without doing any analysis of the cost to taxpayers, and without allowing more opportunity for local elected officials and residents to testify. 

“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to subvert local control and rig local elections for partisan gain after Democrats and people of color made their voices heard in the 2020 local elections. Echoes of ‘this is the way it’s going to be’ and efforts to strip people of color of their political power invoke painful memories of Jim Crow and voter suppression schemes that belong in the ash heap of Georgia’s history – not under the Gold Dome in 2021.

“The disdain Republicans are showing for their peers, Georgia voters, and the hallowed body of the state legislature is disgusting and will not soon be forgotten. If the bills approved this week were honest, necessary, and in good faith, the Republican bill sponsor would not have felt the need to blindside his peers, and the Republican committee chair would not have felt the need to violate Senate procedure to advance them. This fight is not over – Georgia Democrats will do everything in our power to ensure Gwinnett voters’ voices are not silenced.”

More on Republicans’ Gwinnett power grab:

Republicans’ proposal diminishes the voting power of people of color and hurts all Gwinnett residents.

  • The proposed reconfiguration of the Gwinnett County Commission would create 9 county commission districts, 5 of which have white voters as the largest racial bloc in a county that is majority people of color.
  • The proposed new commission district lines split several cities with significant minority populations, diminishing their voting strength.
  • The proposal seeks to reschedule elections in a way that, based on historic voting patterns, would lead to lower turnout among Gwinnett’s diverse population.
  • The costs of adding four additional commission seats and additional staff would likely fall on the backs of Gwinnett taxpayers.

Republicans are violating established rules and procedures as they ram their proposal through the legislator.

  • State Sen. Clint Dixon did not consult any of his Democratic peers who represent Gwinnett County, defying the Gwinnett delegation’s bylaws.
  • The non-Gwinnett Republicans supporting this legislation are going against the long-established approach in the state legislature to let local governments set their own rules.
  • This ongoing effort completely ignores even Governor Brian Kemp’s own orders defining the scope of the special legislative session.
  • Committee Chair and bill cosponsor State Sen. Lee Anderson might have violated procedure by skipping over a motion to table the bill, and instead voting on an earlier motion to pass the bill. When called out on it, Sen. Anderson said, “I’m the chairman, and this is the way it’s going to be.”


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