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Deadline to approve new congressional maps loom over Georgia lawmakers

This story was originally published by FOX 5 Atlanta.

The U.S. House and Senate redistricting committees held hearings on legislative and congressional maps Monday. They now have less than a week to approve them.

"What I would like to ask this committee to do – I know we are on a short timeline, I understand that – but, let's draw maps in a way that really reflects what Georgians really want and need," said Cindy Battles from the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda.

Concerned residents joined Voting Rights groups that spoke out against the proposed Republican congressional map at the Capitol on Monday.

"The Urban League really has a long history of embracing the vision of a multicultural pluralistic democracy and we call at this time on every state legislator to approach redistricting with the same vision," said John Moye, representing The Urban League of Greater Atlanta.

Critics have accused Republican lawmakers of creating new Black districts by eliminating current minority districts.

"We don't have to break up a growing population in North Fulton, in North Gwinnett just to see the rebranding of other districts in Western and central Atlanta," said Stephanie Ali from The New Georgia Project.

Both Ali and Moye pointed out Congresswoman Lucy McBath's district, which includes parts of Gwinnett County and Fulton County, would be split between four congressional districts under the Republican proposal.

"If you are in Gwinnett, you will see that if these maps pass, if they are approved by the courts, you'll llikely have to figure out who your representative is," said Ali. "You will probably be in one of four districts. Same thing if you are on the Western side of Atlanta, you may be split up into any of three districts."

They maintain the map drawn up by Republicans doesn't comply with the judge's order, is built on partisan breakdowns not community interests and fear it will lead to confusion among Georgia residents on election day.

"We are concerned by the large number of voters whose US Representatives and potentially polling locations will change in such a quick timeframe," said Rashidah Hasan, representing the League of Women Voters of Georgia.