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A federal judge has ruled that new congressional and state legislative maps in Georgia, which allegedly discriminate against voters of color, can be used for this year’s election cycle.

In a ruling late on Monday, US district judge Steve Jones said there was not enough time to make changes before the primary.

The newly drawn districts were crafted by state lawmakers and signed into law last year by the Republican governor, Brian Kemp.

Lawsuits were filed by African American groups and individual voters, alleging the maps weaken the growing electoral strength of communities of color, in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

The plaintiffs filed motions for preliminary injunction seeking, among other things, to keep the state from using the new maps during any elections, including this year’s midterms.

In his order, Jones cautioned that “this is an interim, non-final ruling that should not be viewed as an indication of how the court will ultimately rule on the merits at trial”.

“Under the specific circumstances of this case, the court finds that proceeding with the enacted maps for the 2022 election cycle is the right decision. But it is a difficult decision. And it is a decision the court did not make lightly.”

In a similar challenge to new maps in Alabama, the US supreme court last month put on hold a lower-court ruling that said the state must redraw its congressional districts before the 2022 elections to increase Black voting power.

The three-judge lower court said in its unanimous ruling in late January that the groups of voters who sued over Alabama’s maps were likely to succeed in showing the state had violated the Voting Rights Act.

In halting that ruling, justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito – part of the conservative majority – said the lower court’s order for a new map came too close to the 2022 election cycle.

Alabama and Georgia will both hold primaries on 24 May.

This content was originally published here.

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